Fluoride is a natural mineral found in nature and in the human body. However, it’s also frequently used in dental products to help protect the teeth from decay and strengthen tooth enamel. Fluoride can be found in toothpaste, mouthwash, and even dental treatments your child may receive at the dentist’s office.
In some cities, fluoride has also been added to public drinking water to help protect teeth against decay. However, many parents wonder if fluoride is healthy for their little one’s developing smile. Is fluoride safe for your child’s dental health?
Yes, Fluoride Has Been Shown to Be Safe and Effective
Fluoride is a widely used mineral that’s considered to be safe and effective for your children’s teeth. Drinking water with fluoride as well as using toothpaste with fluoride are both considered safe . Some children don’t get fluoride in their drinking water, and may need a supplemental form of fluoride such as a mouth rinse even if they brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste. There is such a thing as getting too much fluoride, so if you have concerns about your child’s fluoride consumption, talk with your child’s dentist to ensure they’re getting just the right amount to help their smile!
Fluoride Has Many Benefits for Your Child’s Dental Health
Using fluoride isn’t only safe for your child’s smile, but has benefits that are hard to beat. After decades of research, fluoride has been shown to :
- Reduce tooth decay by 25% in both adults and children
- Strengthen tooth enamel
- Prevent the need for fillings later in life
- Make tooth loss less likely even in adulthood
Fluoride works with other minerals in your child’s saliva, including calcium and phosphate, to keep teeth strong and resistant to cavities . Without fluoride as part of your child’s oral care routine, teeth aren’t as protected against damage from acids and bacteria, which can lead to an increased risk for cavities.
When Should You Start Using Fluoride for Your Child?
While fluoride is an excellent tool for protecting your child’s smile, like toothpaste and mouthwash, it shouldn’t be swallowed. So while you can start brushing your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as they have teeth, it’s important to assist them with their teeth brushing until they’re old enough to be trusted to do the task on their own (usually around age seven or eight, but the exact number can be different for every child!).
Any fluoride mouth rinses shouldn’t be used until your child is at least six years of age . Your dentist can let you know if your child needs a fluoride rinse and prescribe one if necessary. For some children, they may need topical application of fluoride at the dentist’s office to help protect against decay, especially if your child isn’t getting enough fluoride at home.
Is Your Child Getting Enough Fluoride?
Your child’s dentist can review your child’s fluoride use with you and let you know if they could need additional fluoride treatments. Fluoride isn’t just safe for your little one’s oral health—it offers protective benefits that can encourage a healthy smile for life!