Dentists encourage us to use fluoride so often, we may take this superpower ingredient for granted. But is fluoride really worth all the hype? And how can it benefit our children’s oral health? We’ll take an in-depth look at fluoride – and show you why your child’s Oklahoma City dentist is right to make the recommendation!
What is Fluoride?
It seems like fluoride is everywhere – but what is it? Mouth Healthy and the American Dental Association describe fluoride as a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in rocks, soil, and even water. But fluoride isn’t born. It needs to be created. When the common element fluorine pairs with a positively charged ion like sodium, we get fluoride. It’s a naturally occurring, simple compound that fights cavities and reverses tooth decay.
Why is Fluoride Important?
The biggest benefit of fluoride is its ability to strengthen tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the outer “shell” covering each tooth. Phosphate and calcium that naturally exist in saliva help to keep teeth strong. But saliva can’t do it all.
When kids eat things like candy or pasta, bacteria in their mouths start to eat the carbohydrates in these foods. This process produces acids that erode tooth enamel. The more tooth enamel is eroded, the more likely it is that teeth will develop cavities.
Fluoride is the best way to rebuild tooth enamel while still allowing kids to enjoy pasta – and even candy sometimes! The American Dental Association states that regular use of fluoride products will build up fluoride in your child’s saliva, offering stronger protection for their teeth.
How Can My Child Get More Fluoride?
Since fluoride is a naturally occurring and highly beneficial compound, it’s no wonder so many parents want to provide their children with the benefits. So what’s the easiest way to do this?
Fluoride in Water – Many towns and cities add fluoride to the local water supply. The CDC notes that oral health in the United States has improved dramatically over the 70 years that communities began introducing fluoride to their water. It’s an easy way for people of all ages to reap the benefits of fluoride – without dramatic personal changes. In fact, the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, US Public Health Service and World Health organization all support community water fluoridation. The CDC offers a search function to see if your town treats your water with fluoride.
Fluoride in Toothpaste – Children and adults both need to brush every day. Incorporating a fluoride toothpaste will help you get the most out of brushing. Children younger than 6 should be monitored while brushing to ensure they aren’t swallowing toothpaste. Young kids only need a pea-sized amount on their brush.
Fluoride Rinse – If your child uses a low-fluoride toothpaste designed for kids, a fluoride rinse could be a good way to add the compound to a dental routine. Children should use a fluoride rinse with no alcohol for safety. Be sure to monitor kids when they rinse, and make sure they don’t swallow.
Visit your trusted dentist for regular dental cleanings in OKC – Your dentist can provide fluoride treatments for both adults and children to help combat tooth decay and strengthen developing teeth.
Building healthy tooth enamel is simple and can be started at any time. Introduce fluoride to your child’s routine for a life-long, healthy smile!