You will often hear your dentist say that fluoride is important for the dental health of your young children. Sure. Cool. You knew that…… but maybe you didn’t. And maybe no one has explained why it’s important to you before. That’s totally fine! We’re here to give you the low-down on fluoride.
The simple answer is actually not too hard to grasp. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to acid attacks caused by plaque – that filmy layer sometimes found on your teeth between regular brushing and flossing. Each day, your enamel (the shiny, white part of your teeth) slowly suffers due to harmful acids from the bacteria left behind. Fluoride fights back by remineralizing your tooth’s enamel, making it more resistant to harmful plaque.
How Fluoride Combats Decay:
Fluoride is important because it can assist your teeth through two methods: (1) through ingestion it can be incorporated into the structure of developing teeth, (2) through contact is can be absorbed into the surface of teeth.
Treatments with fluoride can prevent the acid produced by bacteria in plaque from demineralizing your child’s enamel. Fluoride cannot work miracles. It won’t save a tooth with a cavity, but it can reverse low levels of tooth decay.
How Age Becomes A Factor:
As mentioned, Fluoride is important for developing teeth as it can be absorbed through ingestion and incorporated into the structure of teeth. It is especially important for children under the age of 6 to be exposed to fluoride. Anytime between 6 months to 6 years are seen as incredibly important times for developing teeth as this is when the primary and permanent teeth come in.
The Many Forms Of Fluoride:
Fluoride appears in several forms that are available to you and your children. In addition to occurring in certain foods and water sources, fluoride can be directly applied to the surfaces of your teeth using fluoridated mouth rinses and toothpaste.
Low-strength solutions are available at any store that sells toothpaste – but higher concentrations must be prescribed by a Dentist. These higher, concentrated forms appear as rinses, gels, or varnishes.
It is very important to monitor your child while using fluoridated at-home solutions. Like everything else, when used properly, for the proper reasons, fluoride is a great solution to help combat tooth decay.