The Benefits of Fluoride Treatment

You know a quality toothpaste features fluoride, but getting extra treatments can help your children’s teeth grow strong and healthy. Fluoride treatments are safe, and Dr. Umesh Kodu of Penguin Pediatrics recommends children have them as needed..

Here’s what you should know about fluoride treatments and how they can benefit your child’s oral development and health.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral. It contributes to the development of strong teeth and helps prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is particularly helpful in the early stages of dental caries. With topical fluoride treatments, dental caries can be addressed in its microscopic stages before it does any notable damage to the teeth. 

How does fluoride protect against tooth decay?

Cavities develop when bacteria clings to teeth and turns into sticky plaque. As plaque sits on the teeth, it starts to erode the enamel and gum tissue. Of course brushing and flossing as well as regular visits to the dentist help get rid of excess plaque – but some inevitably develops. Fluoride provides extra protection against the damage plaque can do.

Can fluoride treatments reverse tooth decay?

Fluoride treatments can indeed reverse early tooth decay.

A tooth’s outer layer of enamel either acquires more or loses some minerals every day. When the plaque acid eats away at the layer, this leads to a loss of minerals or demineralization. Too much demineralization can lead to tooth decay. Fluoride helps the teeth remineralize, which means it helps repair early decay and become stronger.

Fluoride treatments in children under the age of six means the mineral becomes incorporated into the development of their permanent teeth. As a result, their adult teeth grow stronger and more resilient. Children who have fluoride treatments have teeth that are less vulnerable to decay.

Who should get fluoride treatments?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years have some form of fluoride every day. This daily fluoride may come in toothpaste or fluoridated drinking water. 

Fluoride treatments, if needed, are given in small daily amounts, and the dosage Dr. Kodu recommends depends on your child’s age, risk of dental caries, and current intake of fluoride from other sources, such as drinking water.

Are fluoride treatments safe?

Fluoride treatments are safe and effective. Fluoride has been used for decades to protect tooth enamel in kids and adults.

How are fluoride treatments applied?

A fluoride varnish or gel can be brushed onto your child’s teeth by a dentist or your primary care provider. The treatment takes just a minute to apply. Your child can eat and drink shortly afterwards – at the most they must wait about 30 minutes. Fluoride treatments may be applied every 3-6 months and to baby teeth when they first appear. 

When it comes to fluoride, more isn’t better. Using toothpaste, having fluoridated water, and/or professional fluoride treatments on a timetable recommended by Dr. Kodu or your child’s dentist is enough. Avoid allowing your child to swallow or “eat” toothpaste or get into fluoride supplements if you have them in the house.

For more information about how you can promote healthy teeth in your child, contact Penguin Pediatrics, with offices in Ashburn and Stone Ridge, Virginia. Call for an appointment or use the online tool to schedule.

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