Is fluoride bad for kids’ teeth?
There are a lot of websites out there that say fluoride is harmful to kids’ teeth. But is fluoride really dangerous for your child?
What’s the deal with fluoride? Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel. It makes the enamel as strong as Superman when it comes to fighting cavities or tooth decay.
Without fluoride, your kids’ teeth won’t get the protection they need to fight cavities and tooth decay. Your kids need fluoride! Fluoride is like their hidden superpower to fighting cavities!
Dosage of fluoride is super important. Just like you could accidentally give your child too much Tylenol if he has a headache, you could also mistakenly give your child too much fluoride.
3 ways for your children to get the fluoride they need:
Have you heard of fluoride-free toothpaste? Some parents think their kids will get a fluoride overdose, so they use these fluoride-free toothpastes. Beware: All these toothpastes are doing is making bubbles; they don’t have any cavity-fighting ability!
It is important to make sure your tykes are getting the right dosage of toothpaste! You don’t want them to overdose on fluoride! The American Dental Association recommends:
- Children under age 3 – no more than a smear
- Children aged 3-6 – pea-sized amount
Keep in mind that your children’s teeth should be brushed twice a day for two minutes each time. I know this is really difficult when you have a squirming 2-year-old, but try your best! Your little superheroes need to brush, brush, brush!
Effective brushing is cleaning where the teeth and the gums meet, which is where the plaque and cavity-causing bacteria ‘villains’ hide. Brushing for 30 seconds on each side will keep your children’s teeth clean.
2. During 6-month checkups
Your children need topical fluoride. This is the stuff the hygienist puts on their teeth during their 6-month checkup. During the cleaning process, the hygienist removes what’s called the “fluoride-rich layer of enamel” that contains the fluoride their teeth have developed. So they need the fluoride applied to their teeth after this layer is removed in order to fight off bacteria villains!
Word to the wise: If you say ‘no’ to topical fluoride, you put your children’s teeth at risk. Kids who are given twice annual cleanings and fluoride have about 70 percent less tooth decay.
3. Drinking water
Some people think tap water is dangerous because it could contain toxic levels of fluoride, or because they come from countries where the tap water is not clean. Great news for Tulsans! The City of Tulsa’s water supply is optimally fluoridated, so it has the best possible fluoride supply.
Now, let’s talk about something many blog readers worry about: a condition known as fluorosis. People get fluorosis when they have too much fluoride during the first eight years of life.
What does fluorosis look like? With mild fluorosis, teeth have scattered, white flecks, occasional white spots, frosty edges, or fine, lacy chalk-like lines. With moderate and severe forms of fluorosis, teeth have larger white spots and sometimes even rough, pitted surfaces.
The good news is: Tulsa’s drinking water is not going to give your child fluorosis! Children who get fluorosis live in areas where the ground water is extremely fluoride-rich or mineral-rich. The water in the Tulsa area is perfectly safe to drink and helps build up good, plaque-fighting fluoride on your teeth! Kapow, cavities!
So help your kids be the superheroes they were made to be by equipping them with cavity-fighting fluoride!