Flouride. We have heard every opinion imaginable; one day it is necessary to a healthy mouth and the next it is a dangerous substance that must be eliminated. We take great caution when it comes to our health and even more-so when it comes to the health of our children. Is fluoride a safe substance for our little ones?
The truth is: parents should use toothpastes with stronger concentrations of fluoride to prevent tooth decay in children over twelve. Many children’s toothpastes swap fun tubes and a tasty flavor for the ingredients that our mouths need to stay clean and fight bacteria. According to various studies, fluoride can reduce tooth decay by up to 25%, a staggering statistic that proves the necessity of fluoride in toothpaste once children reach a certain age. However, parents must be cautious with the use of fluoride in younger children. As it happens, using toothpastes high in fluoride in children under twelve leads to a higher risk of mild fluorosis. The key is making certain that a child is old enough to not purposefully swallow the toothpaste, causing them to ingest levels deemed mildly unhealthy. From ages six to twelve, parents may even choose to begin using toothpastes with higher levels but in smaller amounts to properly wean their children.
The benefits of fluoride far outweigh the risks, as a heavy amount of fluoride would have to be ingested to cause any true damage. However, damage in the mouth caused by a lack of fluoride is very real. Tooth decay and additional consequences due to a lack of fluoride in toothpaste are a much more possible outcome.
Fluoride is not the enemy but, when used in proper amounts, a helpful ingredient in maintaining a glowing smile. Flavorful kid’s toothpastes low in fluoride are appropriate in younger children, but as they grow, using a small amount of toothpaste with a higher concentration of fluoride will keep children’s smiles strong and healthy.