One question which parents often ask is how much fluoride should their children receive? This question is a very tricky one. To start off, fluoride is crucial to any person’s dental health. In fact, children who do not receive enough fluoride are actually prone to cavities. But on the flip side, when too much fluoride is given to a child, the condition called dental fluorosis can also develop. So how do you know that you’ve struck a balance? And is fluoride really that important among children?
Fluoride and Infants
When your child has first started to grow out his or her milk teeth, then your dentist will not advise that you use toothpaste right away. On the other hand, all that you need is to wet a clean washcloth and use this to rub the surfaces of your child’s gums and his or her first few teeth.
When your dentist finally gives you the go signal to use toothpaste, then use just a small smear since your child does not really need too much fluoride at that point. In the other hand, too much fluoride could lead to the development of dental fluorosis. Fluoride overexposure can lead to discolorations in the enamel layer of the resulting primary teeth and, in severe cases, can even lead to notches and ridges developing on the enamel. For this reason, its best that you limit your child’s use of toothpaste and to always encourage your child to spit rather than swallow toothpaste when tooth brushing But when your child gets all of his or her permanent teeth, then the threat of dental fluorosis is no longer that prominent.
Fluoride and Its Sources
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which is found in plant sources but most notably in tap water. Tap water systems are fluoridated in order to ensure that individuals are getting the optimum amounts of mineral. In the past, when water systems were not yet fluoridated, cases of cavities were extremely rampant and epidemics were frequent. However, the numbers have all dropped ever since this public health policy has been introduced. But with people preferring to drink bottled water rather than drink straight from the tap, experts are questioning if individuals are still getting the right levels of fluoride. Luckily, most dental hygiene products contain optimum levels of fluoride which enable individuals to still get the RDA of fluoride even without drinking from the tap.
Tate C. Langdon, DDS, PA
Huntersville, NC 28078
Phone: (704) 875-0123
URL of Map