Fluoride has years of proven history as an effective cavity fighter. As part of a complete oral hygiene routine, fluoride toothpaste can provide you with effective protection against cavities when you or your child brush with it twice daily. Keep reading below to learn some basics about fluoride and to help clear up any misconceptions that may exist about this natural mineral and its role in the oral health of kids.
What is fluoride Toothpaste?
Fluoride is a natural mineral and can be found in water and soil. The key safety factor when discussing fluoride involves the concentration. While fluoride is added to many municipal water supplies across America, the amount added is very low. Fluoride toothpaste, however, contains a higher concentration so that is can help to prevent cavities and strengthen teeth. While this higher concentration is still not dangerous, there are some factors that should be considered when it is being used by children.
Is fluoride toothpaste safe for kids?
Yes. Fluoride toothpaste is safe for all ages. Once your child receives their first tooth and it is time to start brushing, the key is to ensure that your child does not swallow their toothpaste. When putting toothpaste on the brush for your child, the general rules to follow are:
- Use a thin smear or coating of toothpaste for kids under the age of 2
- For kids older than 2, use only a grain of rice sized amount of toothpaste
Additionally, always monitor your child when they brush their teeth to ensure they are not swallowing it. For younger kids who do not yet know how to spit, you can wipe their gums with a wet cloth or ensure they are rinsing well with water. Again, since they cannot spit, it is important to only use a very small amount of toothpaste so that if it is swallowed, it will not upset their stomach.
For older kids, make sure they know how to properly rinse and spit before you can allow them to brush without supervision.
Is fluoride really that important?
Since cavities are one of the biggest issues for children’s dental health, fluoride toothpaste is essential as it is an effective way to prevent cavities while brushing. Remember, brushing is used to remove food on the teeth since bacteria in the mouth eat the sugars in this food and produce acid that eats away at the tooth enamel. While simple brushing with a non-fluoride toothpaste will help to clear out this food, fluoride helps to prevent the bacteria from producing acid, to improve resistance to this acid, and to strengthen teeth. It also gets absorbed right into the enamel and prevents tooth decay.
Talk to your pediatric dentist
If you have concerns about fluoride and using it in your child’s daily oral hygiene routine, talk to your pediatric dentist about your concerns and to start a conversation about how fluoride toothpaste can be a safe and effective tool to prevent cavities in your child and keep their smile healthy for years to come.