What Should I Know About Fluoride?
When you send your child to the dentist, they may receive a fluoride treatment. Or your dentist may recommend a fluoride toothpaste or rinse. But why, when the water we drink also contains fluoride?
In fact, fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water and also in many foods. It is also found in specialized toothpaste and mouth rinses of varying concentrations. But it is especially important for children – from when their teeth first appear as babies to when they are teenagers – to make sure they have their teeth exposed to fluoride to protect against tooth decay.
Fluoride, along with other minerals like calcium and phosphate, helps with the remineralization process. When you consume food or drinks besides water, the acids from plaque and sugars attack your teeth’s enamel. Remineralization helps repair that enamel and prevent tooth decay by helping making teeth resistant to plaque bacteria and sugar.
Fluoride is safe and effective when used properly. Like any supplement, keep it out of reach of small children. Kids under six are more likely to swallow toothpaste when brushing, so make sure to put only a small amount on their toothbrush if you are using a fluoride-supplemented toothpaste.
And as always, if you have any questions, ask a dental hygienist!