Why Fluoride Is Good for Kids Teeth
Fluoride is added to many public water supplies and is perhaps one of the most effective ways to protect teeth, particularly young kids teeth. (Read also: Fluoride and Young Kids: Important Things to Know). In the past it was assumed that fluoride had a systemic effect through being incorporated into developing teeth, but now we know that fluoride is most effective when applied topically to tooth surfaces.
How Fluoride Can Protect Kids Teeth
It is vital that fluoride is present at the right time, which means it must be in the saliva and in the biofilm which is the sticky layer of dental plaque that forms over everybody’s teeth during the course of the day. When sufficient fluoride is present, it interferes with the development of tooth decay, helping the tooth surfaces to re-harden more easily so cavities are less likely to form in kids teeth. An important part of this process is called demineralization and remineralization which affects the tooth enamel.
Explaining Demineralization and Remineralization
Demineralization occurs when the mouth becomes more acidic, normally after eating something very sugary or highly acidic, as this causes essential minerals to be removed from the tooth enamel. Demineralization results in the tooth enamel becoming softer and more easily eroded. After a while the acids are gradually neutralized by saliva and pH levels in the mouth begin to increase. During this time a process called remineralization can occur where minerals such as calcium are recovered from saliva and can be redeposited into the tooth enamel. This process occurs much more efficiently when fluoride is present in the biofilm. (Read more about demineralization and remineralization of teeth).
Making Sure Your Child Receives Sufficient Fluoride in a Safe and Controlled Manner
Although fluoride ingested from the public water supply can be deposited in bone, this supply is soon depleted. Bone is constantly being broken down and renewed and during this process fluoride is released back into the blood and into the saliva but the fluoride available in bone can only last a few days. This is why Dr. Marina Krepkh, DDS, explains how fluoride helps children’s teeth. All the pediatric dentists at the Kids Dentistry Center recommend the use of fluoride, whether in the form of fluoride toothpaste or through it being applied topically during fluoride treatments in our dental practice.
You Child Will Get a Personalized Treatment Plan
When your child comes to visit our dental practice, one of things we will assess is their risk of tooth decay. This assessment is used to create their personalized treatment plan which includes the use of preventative dental treatments such as fluoride applications. The nice thing about fluoride is that it can be applied to your child’s teeth in a way that is completely painless and is very non-invasive.
How Fluoride Can Be Applied
Fluoride can be applied to the kids teeth in a number of different ways which includes mouthwash, gel or foam, or in the form of a varnish. (Learn about fluoride varnish treatment). The gel or foam is used in mouth trays which are worn for just a few minutes whereas the varnish is painted on to newly cleaned teeth and left to penetrate for a few hours or even overnight. During this time your child shouldn’t brush their teeth, but they will be able to eat and drink normally.