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What You Should Know About Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural-occurring mineral, not just an additive in toothpaste. This natural cavity fighter does offer protection from decay, but sometimes the level in the water supply is too low to offer any benefit. This is why regular fluoride treatments, especially for children between the ages of 6 and 12 years old, are so important.

Our team at Penguin Pediatrics offers fluoride treatments for patients at our offices in Ashburn and Stone Ridge, Virginia. We want you to know fluoride is an essential part of helping your child build strong, healthy teeth.

What is fluoride anyway?

Fluoride is a mineral found organically in the water, soil, plants, air, and rocks. It’s also a building block of your bones and teeth. Appropriate fluoride treatments help strengthen your tooth enamel so it’s more resistant to cavities.

How does fluoride work?

Every day, minerals are sloughed off your teeth when you eat. The bacteria that breaks down sugar and carbohydrates produce an acid that eats away at the minerals in tooth enamel. The process happens to everyone, but can become problematic when the lost minerals aren’t replaced.

When you use fluoride in toothpaste or mouthwashes, the fluoride applied to the surface of your teeth bathes your enamel, helping to strengthen your teeth

Specifically fluoride does the following:

These benefits of fluoride are particularly important as your child’s teeth are erupting from the gum line.

Is fluoride harmful?

Fluoride is only a problem if you’re exposed to too much of it. Usually this is due to an unusual event, such as contamination of water from an explosion or if you live in an area (of Africa or Asia) where there are large geologic deposits of fluoride that contaminate drinking water.

When provided by a qualified pediatrician or dentist, fluoride only helps strengthen your child’s teeth. If your child is getting too much fluoride and develops white spots on the surface of their teeth, a condition called fluorosis, it’s likely because they have been swallowing too much toothpaste, not due to fluoride treatments. 

Children younger than 3 only need fluoride-containing toothpaste the size of a rice grain when they brush; children 3 and older should stick to a pea-sized amount.

If your child does get a fluoride treatment from their dentist, let our office know so there’s no repeating of doses.

Should everyone get fluoride treatments?

Adults and children benefit from professionally administered fluoride treatments. Some populations should take special care to make sure they get enough fluoride. This includes people who have chronic dry mouth, gum disease, or a history of significant decay. If your child wears braces or has crowns, fluoride treatments are especially important for them.

Talk to our office if you live in one of the select surrounding areas served by a fluoridated water system to find out if Dr. Kodu still recommends fluoride treatments. Usually, if your child doesn’t tend to drink a lot of fluoridated tap water, a fluoride treatment is a good idea.

Dr. Umesh Kodu is here to answer all of your questions about fluoride, especially when it comes to promoting your child’s oral health. Call today for an appointment or schedule it through online booking.

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