Fluoride is a natural mineral with powerful tooth protection qualities. It helps strengthen teeth and can reduce your child’s risk of cavities. At Kids Dental Center, our team of talented pediatric dentistry specialists, led by Dr. Bosede Adeniji, are big fans of fluoride. We want our young patients to start life with healthy habits and strong teeth, and fluoride is an important part of that.
How children get fluoride
A few ways your child gets fluoride include:
Most Maryland residents have access to tap water containing fluoride. Drinking fluoridated water can reduce your child’s risk of cavities by 25%, according to the American Dental Association.
Fluoridated tap water is safe and effective, with a 70-year history of preventing cavities in both children and adults. Drinking tap water is an easy way to add an extra layer of protection that works alongside other sources of fluoride.
You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they emerge. At that stage, just use a rice-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste until age 3. At ages 3-6, your child should have a pea-sized quantity of fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth, morning and night.
Supervise your child’s tooth brushing closely to make sure they don’t use too much toothpaste. Ensure they don’t swallow the toothpaste, as too much fluoride can be just as bad as not enough.
Fluoride varnish is a lacquer that we paint onto your child’s teeth in the Kids Dental Center office. Varnish is much stronger than the fluoride in toothpaste and water.
After we apply the varnish in the office, you brush it off at home in 4-12 hours, based on our recommendations. Application of fluoride varnish isn’t painful or uncomfortable, and soon your child will view it as a routine part of their visit to our pediatric dentistry.
In-office fluoride frequency for kids
We recommend being proactive about your child’s oral health, starting early in life. We usually apply varnish starting at about 6 months old, or whenever your child’s first tooth breaks the gums.
After that, American Academy of Pediatrics recommends following up with fluoride varnish treatments at regular intervals, usually 2-4 times a year until the age of 5.
But, depending on your child’s general oral health and risk of cavities, we might recommend continued fluoride varnish treatments after age 5.
If your child has a history of cavities or is at risk for them, we might also recommend supplemental care at home, like using a fluoride mouth rinse alongside regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste.
A healthy mouth is one of the best gifts you can give your child, and we’re here to make that easy for both of you. If your child is due for a checkup or needs a fluoride treatment, call our office or reach out to our friendly team through the online contact feature now.