Parents know that it is important to make sure that your son or daughter has good oral habits. Teaching kids to brush and floss at a young age can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems well into their adult life. But when it comes to buying the right toothbrush, the right toothpaste, and other products, it can be a bit challenging. Hundreds of brands all argue that their toothbrush or toothpaste is the best for fighting cavities or gum disease. One question our dentists often hear from parents is whether or not their son or daughter needs fluoride toothpaste.
Fluoride toothpaste is one of the many options for your children to use when brushing their teeth. Fluoride is a chemical that naturally appears in minerals. In small doses, it can strengthen teeth against dental decay. Fluoride actually reduces the risk of cavities for adults and children. It does this by protecting the enamel (the outmost layer of your teeth) against acids that can come from fruit, sugary beverages, or other acidic foods/drinks. Ever since the link between fluoride and enamel protection was discovered, it has been considered one of the greatest advancements in dental health. Many towns and cities actually put small amounts of fluoride into the water supply to help improve public health. However, if your child struggles with cavities or enamel decay, a dentist may recommend fluoride toothpaste.
Not every toothpaste has a high amount of fluoride in it, some toothpaste even comes fluoride-free. The main reason for this is because too much fluoride can cause problems. Fluorosis is a non-dangerous issue where teeth become stained with white marks due to much fluoride. Fluoride can also cause stomach problems if swallowed in high dosages. Some parents worry that because their children already drink fluoride in water, using fluoride toothpaste may cause these problems. But in fact, if you use the recommended amount of toothpaste, your child will be fine.
Like any dental question, the best solution is to ask your dentist. Your dentist can make recommendations on whether or not your kids should use fluoride toothpaste. If your child is has that toothpaste recommended, it is important that they use it properly. Because of the higher concentration of fluoride, they should only use a pea-sized drop of toothpaste. They should also always spit the toothpaste out instead of swallowing it. That is why younger children who are more likely to not spit out the toothpaste are often told not to use it yet. This is why you should talk to your dentist about whether or not your child is old enough to use fluoride toothpaste.
Questions about fluoride? Ask one of our dentists. Simply send us a message or set up an appointment with any of our staff, and we can help with your son or daughter’s dental health.