We do all we can to prevent tooth decay in our children. Fluoride treatment is a key player in any preventative dentistry program. Fluorine is a natural element found in fluoride and it is capable of dramatically reducing tooth decay and, in turn, childhood cavities. Fluoride is usually an ingredient in toothpaste, oral gel, mouthwash and community water. Children are recommended to use fluoride in order to decrease the instance of cavities, which strengthens overall oral health.
How does fluoride do its job?
Oral bacteria feeds on carbohydrates, which produce acids that attack the enamel. This results in tooth decay, cavities and even periodontal disease. Fluoride combats this in two ways. First, it halts mineral loss from the tooth enamel. Secondly, it promotes remineralization of the tooth enamel. In conjunction with routine flossing, dentist visits and healthy food selection, fluoride is a major piece in cavity prevention.
Over consumption, or fluorosis, can also be a problem. Dr. Walton and team are charged with monitoring children’s levels of intake. An American Dental Association (ADA) approved, non-fluoridated brand of toothpaste is recommended for those patients under two years old. From ages two through five, a pea sized amount of fluoride containing, ADA approved toothpaste should be used twice a day. Stress the “spit” part of teeth brushing with these aged patients so that no extra fluoride is consumed. If over consumption becomes an issue in children under the age of five, it will show itself with white specks on the teeth. The risk becomes negligible for those older than eight years old.
If the dentist believes children are not receiving enough fluoride, supplements can be added periodically. These considerations will be made after the dentist evaluates the estimated current intake of fluoride, general health history of the patient and his/her sugar consumption. If fluoride supplements are decided upon as the best route, an at home treatment could be suggested. Topical options can also come into play. Topical treatments are administered during office visits and are known to be quick and painless. They exist in various forms, including foam, liquids, gels, trays and brushes. Our staff will come to a conclusion on what form your child will handle best.
If you have questions or concerns about fluoride or fluorosis, be sure to contact Dr. Walton at his Columbus office.