New parents have a lot to juggle—food preparation, diaper changes, doctor’s appointments, and don’t forget about taking care of yourself! When an unfamiliar task enters your already chaotic routine, you may be hesitant to jump on board, especially if it affects your little ones. When it comes to developing primary teeth, the dentists at Kangaroo Smiles Pediatric Dentistry recommend that parents learn as much as they can about the dental treatments available, and that includes fluoride for kids.
At Kangaroo Smiles, each child’s health, comfort, and safety are our top priority. Dr. Mona Beylin, Dr. Simon Beylin, and Dr. Cyrus Safizadeh are all pediatric dental specialists who can kindly and professionally explain everything parents should know about fluoride treatments.
For those with busy schedules who are looking for fast facts—we’ve provided a breakdown of the most important information about fluoride treatment for kids below. Read on to get the answers you need before your child’s next dental appointment.
The Truth About Fluoride for Kids: Six Essential Facts
- Fluoride Protects From Cavities
Fluoride is considered nature’s cavity-fighting mineral. Bacteria inside your mouth feed on the sugars you consume, which in turn produces acid that can damage tooth enamel over time. Fluoride combats this process, making teeth more resilient against acid. It can reduce the risk of cavities and help reverse early signs of decay. Win, win!
Fluoride is found in water sources and even in certain foods and beverages (although levels vary). Many communities add fluoride to the public water supply. Thanks to the strict standards set by the EPA, people of all ages (children, too) can benefit from drinking tap water and receiving just the right amount of fluoride.
All ADA-approved toothpaste types contain fluoride, and parents can always check which fluoride toothpaste is the safest for toddlers.
- Dental Fluorosis Occurs From Too Much Fluoride
Dental Fluorosis is a condition that can form from getting too much fluoride when teeth are still developing within the gum. Fluorosis is mostly a cosmetic issue.
Dental fluorosis, affects less than one in four people between the ages of six and 49. But don’t worry—this condition presents no negative health effects. Less than two percent of people have more than mild fluorosis; most present small white spots on the teeth—that’s all!
- Fluoride Safety (How Much is Too Much?)
For parents of infants who want to ensure their children do not receive too much fluoride, breastfeeding provides only low amounts of fluoride. For mothers not breastfeeding, check out ready-to-feed formulas or powdered/liquid concentrate formula that has little to no fluoride.
For children who are learning to brush their teeth on their own, parents should teach them to properly spit and not swallow toothpaste or mouthwash.
- Fluoride treatments Starting at Age Two
Many parents wonder, “Are fluoride treatments necessary?” In order to prevent cavities and protect the mouths of young ones, the answer is likely, “yes!” During pediatric fluoride treatment, the dentist paints the fluoride varnish on the top and sides of each tooth. The material will harden quickly, and it can be brushed off anywhere between four and 12 hours after application. This easy process produces no pain.
Children are able to eat and drink after fluoride treatment, but soft foods are recommended—and nothing too hot. They should also avoid brushing or flossing for at least four to six hours. Your dentist will advise you on whether or not to wait until the next morning to brush and floss.
- In-Office Pediatric Fluoride Treatments for Success
Dr. Mona and the Kangaroo Krew work in line with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines, recommending that children visit the dentist every six months. Dr. Mona will tell you after evaluating your child whether or not she/he needs fluoride treatment. If treatment is scheduled, the Kangaroo Krew will provide you with complete instructions on how to prepare and what to do after. These fluoride applications add a valuable boost of protection and are much stronger (but safe!) than the fluoride obtained through water and food.
- Silver Diamine Fluoride Treatment
While standard fluoride varnish applications continue to be effective in pediatric dentistry, more and more dentists are realizing the benefits are even greater with silver diamine fluoride. This type of fluoride provides greater protection; requires minimal time because it is non-invasive, and offers a safe, cost-effective method of preventive care.
Kangaroo Smiles has two great locations for surrounding residents: Lowell, MA, and our new location in Methuen, MA. Our offices are kid-friendly with fun illustrations on the walls and lots of smiling staff members. Our goal is to make our young patients comfortable and happy while giving them top-quality dental care and education to take home with them.
Parents, if you’re looking for more information about fluoride for kids and additional Kangaroo Smiles services, don’t hesitate to contact us! You can reach our office at 978-425-1496.