You know to look for toothpaste with fluoride to keep your child’s teeth healthy. But, did you know that flouride treatments from your doctor can further help strengthen your child’s teeth?
Drs. Umesh Kodu and Andrea McKennon of Penguin Pediatrics recommend fluoride treatments to help defend your child’s teeth against cavities.
Learn why fluoride is so important to your child’s oral health.
Fluoride is a naturally occuring substance, a mineral in fact, that has anti-cavity properties. Not only can it prevent the development of tooth decay, but it may also reverse decay that’s in its early stages of development.
Cavities, also called dental caries, develop when bacteria in the mouth mix with sugar, causing acid that damages tooth enamel. Fluoride helps strengthen and build up the hard outer surface of the teeth to ward off decay.
It’s important to brush your child’s teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride once their first tooth emerges. Use just a “smear” at first and once your child reaches the age of 3, a pea-sized amount is appropriate.
In addition to using toothpaste with fluoride, your child may benefit from topical fluoride treatments -- especially if they don’t have access to water enhanced with the compound. The American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association advocate topical fluoride treatments for good oral health.
Some children are more susceptible to dental caries and should definitely get fluoride treatments. If your son or daughter has receding gums, wears braces, or takes medications that cause dry mouth, talk to Dr. Kodu and Dr. McKennon about treatment.
Topical fluoride treatments are easily done in the office. The procedure simply involves applying a gel or varnish to the surface of your child’s teeth. The substance hardens quickly and you brush it off after 4-12 hours.
Treatments start when your baby is 6 months old. It takes just a few minutes and should be repeated up to four times per year until your child is 5 years old. We can put you on a schedule that optimizes your child’s health.
Your child continues to need fluoride up until age 16. They may still receive topical treatments if we recommend it, but often get enough from regular brushing with fluoridated toothpaste.
Fluoride is quite safe, but misuse or overuse of fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis. This condition occurs in developing teeth only and usually shows up as white spots on the tooth surface. If you notice this, talk to our doctors about modifying your child’s fluoride treatments.
To make sure your child doesn’t get too much fluoride, prevent them from swallowing toothpaste or other dental hygiene products. Keep toothpaste out of reach of children and supervise brushing until they’re about 8 years old.
Our team at Penguin Pediatrics looks after your child’s whole-body health, including their teeth. If you have questions about fluoride treatment and oral health, make an appointment today.
Call one of our offices in Stone Ridge or Ashburn, Virginia, or use the online booking tool to make an appointment.