Is Dental Fluoride Safe For My Child
There is a lot of misinformation and miscommunication out there about fluoride. Is it safe? Is it toxic? What exactly is fluoride? How will it affect my children? And what is the proper way to use fluoride? At Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental, we know how scary the F-word can sound when parents don’t understand how it works or even really what it is. We’re here to dispel the myths and present the truths about how fluoride works and how it can benefit the oral health of your child.
First Thing’s First: What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found worldwide in oceans, well water, and surface waters like rivers and even rain. It is also found in numerous types of rocks and plants. (Fun Fact: Fluoride is found in every kind of tea leaf!)
Is Fluoride Safe?
Fluoride is nature’s cavity prevention, and scientists have been harnessing its power by adding it to our toothpaste and drinking water for over 60 years. In fact, 75% of your fluoride intake is from water and processed drinks like soda and juice. The Center for Disease Control actually crowned the fluoridation of community water as one of the 20th century’s top ten greatest public health achievements.
Fluoride works to prevent and even reverse the effects of tooth decay. It strengthens tooth enamel, which is a coating that functions to keep out harmful bacteria that cause cavities. These bacteria remove the minerals that keep our teeth safe from corrosive acids produced by these bacteria. Fluoride remineralizes the surface of our teeth to counteract the effects of those acids.
Fluoride In Your Water
The American Dental Association has been studying the effects of fluoridated water for over 60 years. Their findings have been consistent in that fluoridating community water supplies is a safe and effective way in preventing one of the most common childhood diseases: tooth decay. Water fluoridation helps reduce cavities and tooth decay by as much as 40%.
So it’s not toxic?
Fluoride only becomes unhealthy when ingested in large amounts. However, as long as you follow your dentist’s instructions for your child on proper tooth brushing habits, they will be getting the proper amount of fluoride to prevent tooth decay and cavities.
So What’s The Best Way To Use It?
Like any other supplement, fluoride is regulated by the FDA and is clearly labeled on all dental products that contain it.
Are you wondering about the proper amount of toothpaste for your child to brush with? Here’s a good rule of thumb:
- 0 – 3 years: size equivalent of a single grain of rice
- 3 – 6 years: size equivalent of a single pea
Be sure to brush your child’s teeth twice a day, supervised, and ensure they spit out the excess and rinse well with water.
A Word About Mouth Rinse
Unless directed by your dentist, it is not recommended that children under six use fluoride mouth rinses. The American Dental Association (ADA) advises that since children under six have not fully developed their swallowing reflexes, they may be more likely to ingest and swallow a fluoride mouth rinse. Therefore, water is the best mouth rinse for younger children.
If you have any questions about fluoride: whether it’s how to use it, how much to use, or if you or your child are getting enough of this cavity-fighting mineral, feel free to here. We’re always available to answer your questions or schedule an appointment. When it comes to a healthy smile, we want you and your child to be fluoride experts. So come see us!