Our team members at Ramsey Dental Group are healthcare providers, but first and foremost, most of us are parents.
Like you, we want to ensure our children are as healthy and happy as possible. That’s why we take the time to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have about your child’s dental care.
Over the years, we have heard many questions about fluoride and its benefits for kids. For decades, fluoridated water has been linked with cavity reduction – sometimes as much as 40 percent – and healthy teeth for people of all ages. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes community water fluoridation (as we have within the city limits of Keizer and Salem) as one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Community water fluoridation has greatly helped children, the elderly, and those without access to healthcare. Recently, however, you may have heard reports linking excessive consumption of fluoride with some health concerns.
So, what’s the final word on fluoride?
Fluoride is safe and effective, and we know it plays a key role in establishing and maintaining the dental health of our families and yours. It is true that extreme levels of fluoride consumption cause fluorosis – white or brown spots – on your teeth. But simple daily multi-vitamins, too, are toxic in excess. This is why we recommend fluoride toothpaste for children after they can expectorate (spit) on their own and not swallow. Not to worry, even if toothpaste is swallowed, the amount ingested from using a ‘pea’ sized amount would be the same as drinking a glass of city tap water. Fluoride is extremely safe at the levels we suggest patients to use it.
What’s more, fluoride is naturally occurring. It is even found in low amounts in some fruits and vegetables. However, what we get from those sources is not sufficient to have an effect on our teeth. It’s important to have systemic fluoride (fluoride that is swallowed) in adequate amounts as children grow up to ensure that it is incorporated into their teeth from the inside as they are developing. Primary and permanent teeth develop between the ages of 6 months and 16 years, and fluoride consumption during this time helps ensure these teeth grow in as strong and healthy as possible.
It goes without saying that fluoride is a great ally in cavity reduction and for overall dental health. Especially for children, fluoride can make teeth more resistant to decay and acid erosion, which can help ensure good dental health for years to come. Fluoride isn’t the only tool that we have to help you fight dental decay and acid erosion, but it is time tested, safe, and effective.
If you have questions about fluoride and your child’s dental health, talk to us! We can help you understand why fluoride is important and how the mineral helps keep your son or daughter healthy.