Did you know that the most chronic childhood disease in the United States is tooth decay? The good news is that childhood cavities can be easily prevented by taking your child to a pediatric dentist every 6 months and asking about fluoride treatments.
Fluoride has long been recognized for being able to prevent cavities, especially among children.
Continue reading to learn the 3 wayscan protect your child’s teeth.
What is fluoride?
Cavities in children can be easily prevented with fluoride treatments. But what is fluoride? Fluoride is a natural compound found in soil, water, and even food. In fact, fluoride is the 13th most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Ever since scientists have discovered the oral health benefits of fluoride, it has been added to toothpaste and public drinking water supplies.
How do fluoride treatments protect my child’s teeth?
Fluoride treatments protect your child’s teeth by preventing tooth de-mineralization and cavities.
1. Protects Tooth Enamel
Fluoride varnish can protect your child’s enamel so they don’t experience tooth sensitivity. In the winter, it’s not uncommon for children (and adults) to experience. This is because when the cold outdoor air hits our teeth, there may not be enough enamel to protect the sensitive layer of dentin underneath.
When cold or heat is allowed to reach the nerves and inner layers of our teeth, we feel pain. Thankfully, a topical fluoride (when combined with healthy oral hygiene) is enough to prevent tooth de-mineralization and decay.
Fluoride for teeth is able to prevent the acids in your child’s mouth from breaking down healthy tooth enamel. This is why your child’s dentist may recommend using fluoride toothpaste and scheduling fluoride treatments as needed. Fluoride helps fight harmful acids, as well as the bacteria that cause them.
2. Re-Mineralizes Teeth
If too much bacteria is allowed to build up in your child’s mouth, it could trigger a chain of events that puts your child more at risk for tooth sensitivity and cavities. Just like your child likes sweets, so do the bacteria that live in their mouth. As bacteria feeds on leftover particles from sugary or starchy foods, they produce bacteria. Over time, bacteria eat away at your child’s tooth enamel and increase the risk for cavities.
Healthy teeth contain enough minerals (like calcium and phosphorus) to defend against acid attacks, which is why your child’s dentist may recommend fluoride treatments. Fluoride helps rebuild your child’s enamel by adding back those minerals needed for strong healthy teeth.
3. Prevents Childhood Cavities
While tooth decay remains America’s most common chronic childhood disease, this doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to protect your child’s smile. A fluoride treatment dentist can make sure your child’s teeth remain strong and healthy with regular dental exams and fluoride treatments.
Most dental insurances will cover fluoride treatments up to age 14, which helps protect your child’s teeth when they’re most vulnerable. If your child experiences tooth sensitivity or is prone to cavities, you may want to ask their pediatric dentist if fluoride treatments would help.
The dental team at Mitten Kids Dentistry are dedicated to helping children maintain healthy smiles by providing fluoride treatments and other preventative dentistry services. If you wish to schedule an appointment for your child to see our Grand Rapids pediatric dentist, call our office at 616.942.9840.