Preventing cavities is one of the most important parts of great oral care for children, and fluoride plays a huge role in reaching that goal.
Fluoride makes teeth stronger and more resistant to acid. Each person’s mouth contains bacteria, which feed on the sugars produced by food and beverages. The acid produced by these bacteria can start to weaken the outer part of the tooth – the enamel – eventually paving the way for cavities and other unfortunate dental problems. Fluoride strengthens the enamel and helps fight acidic corrosion on a day to day basis.
While most public drinking water contains fluoride, children two years and older should also be brushing with fluoridated toothpaste. Most children’s toothpaste contains fluoride and is readily available at most supermarkets and pharmacies. Look for a toothpaste with the American Dental Association seal. If you have questions about which toothpaste is best for your child, your pediatric dentist can make some recommendations.
The ADA recommends that children over the age of two use toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice and help your child “smear” it on their teeth. This minimizes swallowing and should provide adequate protection. Once a child can brush teeth more independently (around age three), a pea-sized amount of toothpaste can be used for brushing.
Preventing tooth decay and cavities is an imperative part of maintaining a healthy smile. Your pediatric dentist can answer any questions you may have, as well as recommend tips and treatments for your child.