There are plenty of things to worry about as a parent, and your children’s teeth shouldn’t be one of them. As your children develop teeth, it’s important to start thinking about how to help care for them. In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, parents should make sure that children are using fluoride to prevent tooth decay.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral found in natural water sources. It is the ionic form of the trace element fluorine, commonly found in the environment, leaching from soil and rocks into groundwater.

Why is fluoride important for dental health?

When delivered systemically and used topically, fluoride is a safe and effective agent that can be used to prevent tooth decay and dental cavities. Topical fluoride strengthens teeth already in your mouth, while systemic fluorides are ingested and become incorporated into forming teeth. This is why fluoride protection is important for kids of all ages.

In most communities, fluoride is added to the water. According to the ADA, an optimal level of fluoride in community water is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay by at least 25 percent in both children and adults.

For topical uses, fluoride is also added to toothpastes and mouthwashes. Parents can purchase flavored, fluoridated toothpastes for children to enjoy brushing more.

If your community does not have fluoride in the water or your children drink strictly bottled water, they could be at a high risk of tooth decay. To prevent this, fluoride supplements can be prescribed for children ages 6 months to 16 years.

If you have more questions about fluoride and your children’s dental health, ask your local Charlotte pediatric dentist!