What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral compound found in water and soil. It is also present in foods and beverages at varying concentrations. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the entire tooth surface more resistant to acid attacks from the bacteria that live in the plaque on your teeth. Fluoride also promotes remineralization (adding minerals such as calcium back in to your teeth), which aids in repairing early decay before a cavity forms in the tooth. There are two ways to increase fluoride protection: topical and systemic applications.
Professionally administered topical fluorides such as a gels or varnishes are applied to the teeth immediately following a cleaning appointment. For patients with a high risk of cavities, your KidZdent dental hygienist or dentist may prescribe a special fluoride toothpaste for daily home use.
When should we begin using it and how much?
Starting at the eruption of the first tooth, parents should use a smear the size of a grain of rice to brush baby teeth twice daily, morning and night. A pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste is appropriate for an older child that can rinse and spit.
Systemic fluoride is taken into the body through consuming fluoridated water, fluoride supplements or foods and beverages. Once systemic fluoride is absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract, the blood distributes it throughout the entire body. Fluoride is then deposited into unerupted, developing teeth. Systemic fluoride is also found in saliva and it continually bathes the teeth, providing a topical application to protect teeth. Your KidZdent hygienist will determine if fluoride supplements are necessary for your child during their routine cleaning appointments.
Rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse every night after brushing and flossing may be recommended for you by your KidZdent dental hygienist. This will coat your teeth with a protective fluoride layer and help to strengthen enamel while you sleep. This is extremely important for all patients with braces to prevent enamel decalcification during orthodontic treatment.
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