Babies get most of the nutrition they need from milk during their first year of life. Even when solid foods are introduced, milk still plays a vital role in the sustenance and overall development of young children. While many families use bottles to feed their babies, some may use them improperly or for too long,…
What a Pediatric Dentist Wants You to Know About Your Child and Fluoride
You may have a lot of questions for your pediatric dentist about fluoride and your child’s health. Pediatric dentists are happy to talk about how dentists use fluoride and why. It is important that you feel comfortable enough to ask about any concerns at the dentist’s office. There are a lot of conflicting messages about fluoride and what it does. Pediatric dentists want you to know several key points about your child and fluoride.
How dentists use fluoride
Dentists apply fluoride treatments in the office. The dentist cleans the child’s teeth and then paints a fluoride varnish onto the teeth. The varnish feels sticky at first. Some children do not like the feel of the varnish on the teeth, but it dries in a few hours. The fluoride varnish acts as an anti-cavity barrier.
Fluoride varnishes harden on the teeth in about 30 minutes. The dentist will advise children not to eat or drink for a short period. After the varnish hardens, fluoride treatments will last around three to four months. The dentist can reapply the fluoride as the treatment wears off.
Fluoride and safety
There is often some confusion as to what fluoride does. Fluoride is a common element. Children exposed to small amounts of fluoride tend to have fewer cavities. Fluoride mixes with the tooth enamel of growing teeth to strengthen the enamel. It will also help protect teeth from cavities after the enamel has formed by mixing with saliva and coating the teeth.
It is natural to have safety concerns about treatments. Many parents worry about what their children eat and drink. They may have concerns about the amount of fluoride exposure for their child. Some municipalities have fluoridated water. The amount of fluoride in treated water is very small. Dentists recommend fluoride toothpaste for children even if the local water has fluoride.
Even though baby teeth fall out, dentists want parents to know how important these teeth are. Cavities and tooth decay in baby teeth can cause a lot of pain for children. Protecting baby teeth promotes better oral health now and in the future. Permanent teeth are more likely to grow in properly. Losing baby teeth to dental decay can cause problems with chewing and eating.
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Pediatric dentists focus on fluoride safety
Parents who want to protect their children’s teeth have many options when it comes to fluoride. Many kinds of toothpaste on the market for both children and adults contain fluoride. The dentist’s office is a great option for getting regular fluoride treatments. Sometimes, dental programs at schools or public health facilities offer fluoride treatments for children and adults.
You should feel free to ask your pediatric dentist all of your fluoride-related questions. The many messages about fluoride and its use can be confusing. The pediatric dentist can talk to you about fluoride varnishes. You can ask for a demonstration of the right amount of toothpaste a child needs and how to properly supervise brushing.
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