Fluoride and Young Kids: Important Things to Know
Do you have young children? If so you’ll be interested in learning how to keep their new teeth strong and healthy. One important way is through using fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral that is found in some foods and which is added to the public water supply. Fluoride is great for dental health as it helps to harden tooth enamel, which is the outer layer of the tooth and it also disrupts the action of bacteria in the mouth, reducing tooth decay.
A Safe and Effective Way to Reduce Tooth Decay
The amounts added to the public water supply are very carefully monitored and drinking water is one easy way to ingest fluoride. In spite of this, fluoride can cause problems when excess quantities are swallowed by young children. This is why in the past the official recommendation has been for very young children to use fluoride-free toothpaste up until the age of two, when they develop the ability to spit out the excess.
Recent Recommendations on Fluoride Use for Young Children
However just recently the American Dental Association changed its recommendation and now feels that parents and caregivers of very young children should use a very small smear of fluoride toothpaste to clean their kid’s teeth. Parents can begin using fluoride toothpaste as soon as the very first milk teeth appear. The reason for the change is due to a recent review conducted by the American Dental Association’s Council for Scientific Affairs which has confirmed fluoride is useful for preventing tooth decay for children under the age of six.
Excess Fluoride Can Be Bad for Young Teeth
Even though the association now feels it is safe for young kids to use fluoride toothpaste, it is still keen to point out the dangers of children swallowing pea sized amounts of toothpaste as this can cause a condition called dental fluorosis. Although not harmful for teeth, fluorosis does cause white or even brown flecks to develop on the tooth surfaces as the excess fluoride affects the development of their permanent adult teeth. This risk is greatest at age two, which means that while fluoride can help protect teeth, parents and caregivers still need to take care that kids are not exposed to too much fluoride.
The Kids Dentistry Center Can Offer Practical Advice about Fluoride
When you brush a young child’s teeth, make sure you only use a smidgen of toothpaste until they are old enough to develop the ability to spit out the excess. Children aged between three and six need to only use a pea-sized blob of toothpaste. Here at the Kids Dentistry Center, we know it can be difficult to brush a young child’s teeth thoroughly which is why Dr. Marina Krepkh or any of our pediatric dentists are always more than willing to offer practical help and advice with this task. In addition, we can offer additional fluoride treatments for children who are more at risk of developing cavities or who have a history of tooth decay. These treatments include mouthwash, gels and foams and fluoride varnish. If necessary we can also prescribe fluoride supplements.
Kids Best Dentist Brooklyn NYC
Dr. Marina Krepkh
7708 4th Avenue 1st floor
Brooklyn, NY 11209 (Bay Ridge)