Good dental habits can be difficult to establish in children, and even harder to maintain. You may invest a lot of time in your children’s teeth and still receive disappointing news at the dentist when they end up with a cavity. Both genetics and habits play a part in your overall dental health. However, we can offer your children another tool to further strengthen their teeth.
Numerous studies have shown that applying topical fluoride to teeth helps reduce the risk of new cavities forming. It is also theorized that it can even reverse early decay, so you can prevent the problem from getting worse. This is why many municipal water plants add fluoride to the city water. However, fluoride is most effective when applied topically.
Fluoride can be applied to teeth in three different forms: gel, foam, or varnish. Your child’s age, as well as the preference of your dentist, will determine which type of fluoride is used. All three methods are equally effective in delivering a high dose of fluoride to the teeth. This is a short-term application, meaning it will not last forever. Most dentists will want to apply fluoride at least once a year.
The American Dental Association recommends that topical fluoride should be applied to all children older than age 6. Your child may qualify for fluoride treatments at a younger age if there are factors that make him or her at higher risk for decay.
Even though there is plenty of evidence of the effectiveness of using fluoride to battle tooth decay, some parents are wary of the possible long-term effects. You may have heard that there can be problems associated with high doses of fluoride. Research shows that the only long-term effect of having too much fluoride is a condition known as fluorosis. This condition alters the appearance of the teeth and can cause staining. This is purely a cosmetic problem and does not cause any ill health effects. If the fluoride is applied correctly and in the right amounts, fluorosis will not develop.
If your child swallows too much of the fluoride during the procedure, he or she may feel ill. Ingesting too much fluoride can cause stomach upset, vomiting, and headaches. Your dentist will avoid these problems by using tools such as dental dams and other methods to prevent your child from ingesting the fluoride.
When you weigh the pros and cons of fluoride treatments for your child, fluoride comes out as a clear winner. Adults can also get fluoride treatments if they wish. You know how well your children brush and floss when not supervised. This makes it ultra-important for children to receive fluoride to prevent tooth decay. Making fluoride treatments a habit when they are younger is an important step to enjoying good dental health for their entire life.
If you are interested in your child having fluoride treatments, contact Houston Pediatric Dental Specialists. We have access to all of the current information regarding fluoride and how to properly apply it. In addition, we can answer any questions you may have regarding insurance and payment. For the best start on a lifetime of strong and healthy teeth, schedule your child’s dental visit today.