Many parents that we talk to are surprised to learn that dental cavities are currently the most common disease affecting both children and adults across the world. However, the good news is that cavities are also easily preventable with the use of fluoride. In this post, we will explain what fluoride is, how it works to protect teeth, and easy ways you can protect your child’s teeth with fluoride.
What is fluoride?
You’ve probably heard of fluoride and know it has something to do with dental care, but you may not know what it actually is. According to the American Dental Association, “fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter.” When used in dental care, this natural cavity fighter can both strengthen teeth and prevent cavities.
Fluoride naturally occurs in soil, rocks, and even certain water sources including oceans, lakes, and rivers. It is also present in certain foods and drinks. However, the level of fluoride that naturally occurs in water, food, and drinks can vary widely.
How does fluoride protect teeth from cavities?
Your child’s mouth is full of bacteria which feeds on the sugars contained in the food and drink they consume. As the bacteria feeds on the sugar, it produces acid, which can break down your child’s enamel, which, in turn, results in cavities.
Fortunately, fluoride can actually protect your child’s teeth by strengthening them and protecting them from acid, resulting in a reduced risk of cavities. Even better, fluoride can even assist in reversing early signs of tooth decay in children!
How to protect your child’s teeth with fluoride
One of the easiest ways to ensure your child is getting enough fluoride is to make sure they are drinking plenty of tap water. This is because the majority of cities, towns, and municipalities across the nation have fluoridated tap water — either through naturally occurring fluoride or by adding additional fluoride to the drinking water. According to the Centers for Disease Control, fluoridated tap water can decrease tooth decay in children by 18 to 40 percent. In fact, fluoridated drinking water is so effective at preventing cavities and strengthening teeth that it is considered to be one of the 20th century’s top achievements in public health.
Although fluoridated water is the number one way you can protect your child’s teeth with fluoride, there are also other things you can do to ensure your children’s teeth are getting enough exposure to fluoride. A few of these things include having your child brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, incorporating a fluoride mouthwash into your child’s daily routine, and asking your pediatric dentist if fluoride treatment is right for your child. If you live in an area that does not have fluoride in the water, you may also want to discuss having your child take a fluoride supplement with your dentist.
If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in Chattanooga or the surrounding area, our team is here to help! We are experienced at working with parents to ensure their children’s teeth are properly protected from cavities with fluoride.