You’ve probably seen the word fluoride a lot in relation to your teeth and in products related to your teeth but maybe you’ve never thought to ask your dentist what fluoride is and why it is so important to dental health. In this blog, we’ll go over some basic facts about fluoride, what it’s good for and how to make sure that you and your kids get enough of it. If your child needs dental care, please call us at La Petite Dentistry here in Hudson. We’re the area’s pediatric dentistry specialists who can make your kids love going to the dentist! Our office is a fun, inviting space that helps your kids relax and look forward to getting their teeth checked. Contact us for an appointment now!
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a molecule that can be absorbed by foods and surface waters. While the amount of naturally-occurring fluoride that is found in a population’s drinking water can vary significantly from very low to dangerously high, many industrialized nations, including the United States, add fluoride to their water supplies to bring it to an optimal level.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Fluoride helps add important enamel-strengthening minerals to teeth as they develop while also remineralizing enamel continuously throughout the existence of a tooth. Remineralization of enamel is vital to keeping tooth enamel strong. Strong tooth enamel helps to repel cavity causing agents that break down teeth and cause pain and possibly infection.
How Do I Make Sure My Child Gets Enough Fluoride?
If your child is under six months of age, you should not give them any extra fluoride than what they absorb through breast milk, formula, or water. Early ingestion of too much fluoride can cause discoloration of the teeth called dental fluorosis. While this discoloration is usually mild and looks like small white spots, severe cases can make teeth permanently yellow or brown. After six months, water and children’s toothpaste will provide all of the fluoride that they need. If you live in an area that doesn’t fluoridate their water, make sure to ask your pediatric dentist about fluoride supplements to ensure healthy development of your child’s teeth.
Is There Controversy About Fluoride?
Yes and no. There are some people who believe that fluoridated water causes health problems but all of the major scientific studies conducted since the early 20th century have shown that fluoridated water is safe and a great way to keep your teeth healthy. The Centers for Disease Control called water fluoridation one of the most important public health achievements of the last century and the American Dental Association champions safe levels as a way of reducing tooth decay in children and adults.
If you have more questions about fluoride, please ask us during your child’s next visit to Hudson’s La Petite Dentistry! We pride ourselves on helping to educate everyone who comes into our offices about the best way to take care of your teeth. If your child needs a dental check-up or other pediatric dentistry, please call us!