Fluoride for Children
Cavities were once a normal part of children’s lives. But over the years, the amount of cavities that dentists are seeing has been reduced dramatically. The main reason for this is fluoride. Extensive research has been done regarding this subject and the studies have shown that fluoride reduces the amount of tooth decay in both children and adults. It even helps rebuild the early stages of tooth decay, before the cavity becomes visible to the dentist. Sadly, people continue to be misinformed about the benefits of fluoride. Fluoride is like any other nutrient, if taken properly it can be very safe and effective.
Fluoride is a mineral that can be found in our water. How it works is that it makes the tooth structure stronger and more resistant to the acid in our foods. Acid is formed when the bacteria in the plaque around our teeth break down sugars and carbohydrates from the foods we eat. Continuous acid accumulation around the teeth is what causes decay. Fluoride also remineralizes or helps the teeth rebuild themselves in the areas that the cavities have begun. If applied early enough the fluoride can actually help stop or reverse the decaying process and at the same time strengthen the teeth.
People can get fluoride two ways. There is the topical form or the systemic form. The topical form is what the dentist applies to your child’s teeth at their cleaning appointment or the rinses or pastes that the child's dentist prescribes for you to apply at home. These fluorides make the already present teeth stronger, less prone to decay and less prone to sensitivity.
The Systemic form is the kind you ingest and becomes a part of the teeth that are forming. These types of fluorides can protect the teeth because they get into your saliva and the saliva is constantly covering the teeth. These types of fluorides are found in water or in tablets i.e. vitamins
The fluorides that dentists apply can be in the form of a gel, foam or a rinse. Dental hygienists are also qualified to apply fluoride to the teeth. Because these fluorides are stronger in concentration then the self applied types, one does not need to have them applied as often.
Fluoride containing tooth paste is a great way to help get necessary fluoride and help reduce tooth decay. Mouth rinses also contain fluoride and are a good source as well, they can be prescribed or bought over the counter. The prescribed form is stronger in concentration and both types should not be swallowed.
The bottom line is no matter how you get the necessary amounts of fluoride your body needs (either through drinking water, vitamins, toothpaste or applied by your dentist) it is working to help strengthen your teeth.