Here at Williamson Pediatric Dentistry, we are dedicated in assisting patients in the prevention of tooth decay.
One method of enhancing the strength of our enamel is the use of topical fluoride applications to the teeth. Fluoride is designed to penetrate into our enamel on a topical level, allowing fluoride ions to substitute for calcium ions. As it does this, it changes the composition of our enamel and makes it three times more dense than the original enamel itself. By making the enamel more dense, it becomes more resistant to acid demineralization. Less demineralization of enamel simply means a marked decrease in the potential for tooth cavitation. Stronger teeth = less cavities.
Some of the most common sources of fluoride include:
1) Fluoridated toothpaste
- For children less than 3 years of age, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using a “smear” or “rice-grain” sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste for your child twice daily.
- For children 3 to 6 years of age, this amount can be increased to a “pea-sized” amount twice daily.
- For children unable to spit their toothpaste out at a young age that are not at an increased risk for cavities, the use of a training toothpaste or non-fluoridated toothpaste is acceptable. However, lack of topical fluoride to the teeth could be a potential risk factor for increased decay in the future.
- If you child has active decay or is at a moderate to high risk for dental decay, the use of a fluoridated toothpaste is heavily encouraged.
2) City water systems
- Most city water systems have a community water fluoridation program to regulate the amount of fluoride in our drinking water. Fluoride is a naturally occurring element found in drinking water throughout the world. Some areas are deficient, while other areas are heavily abundant. The process of community water fluoridation involves adding or removing fluoride from the water to achieve an optimal level, typically 0.7 to 1.1 ppm.
- In the cities of Spring Hill and Columbia, Tennessee, fluoridation programs have been terminated, leaving our water in a fluoride deficient manner. This makes the application of topical fluoride much more important, as we are not getting any through a systemic route on a regular basis.
- Most people have transitioned to drinking bottled water or filtered water. Most of these water sources are also fluoride deficient as well.
3) Dietary Sources
- Believe or not, fluoride is present in some dietary sources as well, including things such as: processed chicken, juices, sodas, and infant formulas.
How We Can Help:
Fluoride treatments can be completed at your child’s routine dental appointment. They are painless and quick, taking only a few minutes.
When performing the treatment, your child’s dentist will apply gel, foam, or varnish on your child’s teeth. Treatments are usually recommended at every 6 month check up, unless special circumstances exist where it may need to be applied more frequently.
Fluoride treatments are highly recommended in patients with a high risk for dental decay, active orthodontic treatment (in an effort to reduce white spot lesions around brackets), and in patients that have dry mouth (xerostomia) from heavy medication usage.
If you have any questions about fluoride applications and your child’s dental health, please don’t hesitate to speak with us at your child’s appointment, or contact us today at (615) 614-2424.