Most people have a general familiarity with the term “fluoride,” but what is it, exactly? Alpharetta pediatric dentist Dr. Nanna Ariaban encourages parents to be informed about fluoride and the difference between its commercial and professional forms.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in many fresh foods, like apples, carrots, avocados, and lettuce. Rainwater and other natural water sources also contain fluoride. Some cities even fortify their water supplies with fluoride. These types of fluoride are referred to as “systemic.” The fluoride found in toothpastes and professional treatments are known as “topical, ” and are designed to prevent cavities in kids and adults. However, there’s one big difference between what you’ll find at here at PolkaDot Pediatric Dentistry and what is on store shelves.
Fluoride benefits oral health by fortifying the tooth’s protective enamel layer and promoting remineralization, a process where nutrients are returned to the teeth through saliva. Healthy teeth with a strong enamel are less likely to experience tooth decay. All topical fluorides provide these advantages, but professional treatments use an exceptionally high concentration of fluoride not available over the counter. This amount delivers unparalleled protection against cavities.
“The best way to prevent cavities, in addition to proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, is receiving professional dental fluoride,” says Dr. Nanna, a trusted kid’s dentist in the Alpharetta area. “According to the American Dental Association, children should receive a treatment twice each year. We keep things easy by using a pleasant-tasting varnish that sets quickly.”
Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease and cavities are on the rise. In addition to regular professional treatments at our office, parents should equip their children with the right tools to combat decay and keep their smiles strong and healthy. A good combination of professional fluoride treatments and commercial products will supply enough fluoride to accomplish just that.
“In early stages of tooth decay, enough fluoride can even reverse a developing cavity,” says Dr. Nanna.
So, you know professional fluoride is best, but what about in between appointments? Here are a few helpful suggestions regarding fluoride use at home:
Children ages 2 and older should use fluoridated toothpaste that contains the American Dental Association’s seal of acceptance.
Children should only use a pea-sized dollop of toothpaste during each brushing routine.
It’s not healthy for kids to swallow too much toothpaste. Supervise children ages 6 and under during brushing routines.
For infants, use an infant toothbrush, a dab of toothpaste and water to gently clean sprouted teeth and gums.
If your area does not have fluoridated drinking water, ask Dr. Nanna if your child can benefit from taking a daily fluoride supplement.
Children should avoid using fluoridated mouthwashes developed for adults.
Most children are in need of a fluoride boost, but there can sometimes be too much of a good thing. It’s important to note that kids, as well as adults, can receive too much fluoride. Though unlikely, consuming too much fluoride can cause brittleness of the teeth or problem in the kidney. The United State Public Health Service recommends drinking between 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water.
Dr. Nanna operates her practice with the understanding that every child’s smile and dental health needs are different. Before administering any treatments, she considers each patient’s diet, dental history, and risk factors to determine what is best for their smile.
To learn more about the advantages of professional fluoride, contact our friendly staff or ask us at your next appointment. Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry is a trusted provider of dental solutions like fluoride and dental sealants in the Alpharetta, Johns Creek, and Roswell areas.
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