Pediatric Fluoride Treatments for Kids in Fishers
Rates of early childhood tooth decay have been dropping over the past twenty years, largely in part because of a single under-appreciated element: fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that can be found in all naturally-occurring water sources, including the ocean. However, depending on where you live, your local water might be fluoridated, helping your entire family to gain the benefits of this powerful mineral. In fact, of the more than 300 million US citizens, over 210 million people have access to fluoridated water.
Fortunately, you can receive the benefits of fluoride even if you don’t live in a place where the water is fluoridated. Treatments offered by our Indianapolis pediatric dentistry can help your child’s teeth to stay healthy and strong. Research has shown that the teeth development period is when the teeth are most susceptible to fluoride. That is why pediatric recommend recommend that your child receive regular fluoride treatments from the time they are 6 months old to the time they are 16 years old. Here are some benefits of fluoride treatments, and how to incorporate fluoride into your child’s daily dental hygiene routine.
Benefits of Pediatric Fluoride Treatments
Strengthens Enamel on a Microscopic Level
One of the biggest benefits of fluoride is that it strengthens your dental enamel on a molecular level. By having your child ingest fluoride or by having their teeth treated with fluoride, their teeth become naturally resistant to problems like decay, cracks, and chips. Additionally, since fluoride helps the teeth to look healthier, your child can enjoy smiling without worrying about how their teeth look.
Helps Teeth to Remineralize
When oral bacteria are allowed to grow in the mouth, they create acids that dissolve dental enamel. However, fluoride treatments help the teeth to remineralize, or heal from dental decay. As fluoride treatments are administered, they encourage the teeth to replace their lost minerals with minerals present in saliva, and the repairs actually become stronger than the original area was before the enamel was lost. Although fluoride treatments can’t completely repair deep cavities, they are instrumental in slowing decay and resolving small problems.
Inhibits Oral Bacteria
Fluoride treatments also make it harder for bacteria to grow, multiply, and adhere to the teeth, reducing the damage that these pathogens can cause.
Safe and effective
Although many studies have criticized the safety of fluoride, the CDC has not found any association between fluoride use and bone fractures, Downs Syndrome, IQ problems, allergies, kidney problems, or Alzheimer Disease later in life. As long as patients adhere to doctor’s orders regarding the use of fluoride, the mineral is safe and effective.
Because fluoride is so effective at disrupting tooth decay, it can it can save families a lot of money on dental care. In fact, when communities started adopting water fluoridation nationwide, instances of tooth decay in 12 year olds dropped by a staggering 68%.
Incorporating Fluoride Into Your Child's Dental Hygiene
Update Your Child's Toothpaste
When you start brushing your child’s teeth, make sure that their toothpaste contains fluoride. Kids younger than 2 should use a drop of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice, while kids between the ages of 3 and 6 should be using a dallop about the size of a pea.
Offer Tap Water
If you live in an area where the water is fluoridated, offer your child tap water instead of filtered water. It is also safe to use fluoridated water to mix baby formula.
Offer Fluoride Drops or Tablets
Fluoride is available in two main forms, topical and systemic. Systemic fluoride is ingested as a pill or as flavored medication drops, while topical fluoride is applied to the exterior of the teeth. One popular version of topical fluoride is given to children in drops or tablets. Since fluoride is nearly tasteless and these supplements contain sweeteners, children typically accept drops or tablets very well.
Consider a Fluoride Varnish
Fluoride varnishes are mixtures of highly concentrated fluoride that is mixed with a small amount of non-toxic resin. This varnish is painted onto your child’s teeth, reducing their exposure and allowing the fluoride to soak into the teeth for 24 hours. Varnishes are completely clear and painted directly onto the teeth, and your child will not be able to lick it off. After the varnish hardens, it allows the teeth to remineralize, and the substance can be brushed off between 4 and 12 hours after the treatment.
Schedule Your Child's Next Checkup Today
The American Dental Association recommends fluoride treatments twice a year for your child's teeth to keep them healthy and strong. If you need to schedule a checkup or a fluoride treatment for your child, schedule an appointment today with the Children’s Dental Center. Indianapolis pediatric dentists Dr. Edwards and Dr. Bradley are more than happy to talk with you about the benefits of fluoride or children’s dentistry in Indianapolis, and they are currently accepting new patients.