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Fluoride & Your Child

drinking-waterFluoride is one mineral highly needed for proper tooth development and also prevents the occurrence of tooth decay. The use of fluoride in public water supplies in the United States has drastically reduced the number of tooth decay cases that could have occurred.

One of the most significant health accomplishments of the 20th century, according to the CDC (center for disease control and prevention) is the addition of fluoride to water. The recommended level of water fluoridation is 0.7 ppm (parts per million), and both Pediatric doctors and dentists support this.

Despite the vast implementation of fluoridation of water, not everyone gets access to it. If such is the case for your child, then, you should provide them with fluoride supplements, and also fluoride-containing toothpaste and products should be given to them. In order not to give your children excess of fluoride, you should seek professional advice on its use.

How Fluoride Helps

Enamel is the inpenetrable outer part of the teeth which is prone to damage from acid. Acid can reach the enamel in different ways- directly from sodas, acidic drinks, and food or from its production in the mouth by bacteria when they break down sugar.

Bacteria are present in dental plaque, and they metabolize any sugar in your mouth to produce acid. The acid produced can melt away the hard enamel, which could result in tooth decay and cavity formation. Fluoride gets incorporated into the enamel, making it stronger and harder for acid to damage. They sometimes reverse small cavities already formed.

Getting Fluoride to the Teeth


The developing permanent teeth of children readily take up fluoride present in their drinking water or other supplements. Direct application of fluoride on the surface of the teeth helps strengthen them. Toothpaste is a daily source of fluoride for children.

Children should not use toothpaste much toothpaste during brushing. The recommended amount for children is- pea-size for those between 2 and six years, tiny smear for those below two years and none for those below six months.

How Much Fluoride Is Too Much?

Absorption of excess fluoride by developing teeth can lead to a condition called enamel fluorosis. Severe fluorosis causes highly noticeable stains on the teeth while mild fluorosis causes slightly visible white stains on the teeth. Fluorosis practically does not harm the teeth except for the discoloration, which in severe cases is darker and the teeth may be pitted. A cosmetic dental procedure can correct this discoloration.

By age 9, children are no longer at risk of fluorosis. Fluoride accumulates on your child’s teeth with each exposure; therefore, there is a need to evaluate all sources of their fluoride. Although excessive use of fluoride in children could result in some issues, they are essential to your child’s oral and overall health.

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