When it comes to children’s teeth, fluoride is a common concern for parents
Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that has been scientifically shown to lower decay rates by over 50% when added to a community water supply. When not added to the water supply, it is important for parents to choose toothpastes that contain fluoride because it inhibits the loss of minerals from tooth enamel and encourages remineralization (or a hardening of enamel). Fluoride also breaks down the bacteria that cause cavities, disrupting the acid attacks that harm teeth.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using a fluoride toothpaste the moment the first tooth appears in the mouth. For children less than 3 years of age, use a rice-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste, twice daily. For children ages 3 - 6 years, a pea-size amount is recommended. It is acceptable for your child to swallow this amount of toothpaste.
If your community water supply lacks fluoride, your child’s pediatrician or dentist may recommend fluoride supplements, often added to your child’s multivitamin.
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Dr. Erin Estep is a board-certified pediatric dentist who owns Treehouse Kids Dentist in Springfield. She and her staff are committed to making sure your child has an amazing, safe, memorable dental experience.