Early dental intervention with fluoride treatment can keep a child’s teeth strong and healthy as they grow. This safe procedure is both CDC and ADA-approved for children and yields several benefits that can save your child discomfort later in life.
Learn about the dental health benefits of fluoride treatment, when your child should begin treatment, and what safety measures you can put in place to protect your child when dealing with fluoride.
What is a Fluoride Treatment?
A fluoride treatment is a dental treatment that uses natural mineral fluoride to help adults and children prevent cavities and build strong teeth.
During a fluoride treatment, your dentist paints your teeth with fluoride varnish or uses a concentrated rinse, gel, or foam. The fluoride used in dental treatments is generally of higher strength and offers more protection and benefits than off-the-shelf toothpaste and mouthwashes that contain fluoride.
To reap the benefits of fluoride, many dentists recommend getting a fluoride treatment right after professional teeth cleaning for absorption into your tooth enamel. Fluoride treatments are most effective if done two to four times per year.
What Are the Benefits of Fluoride Treatments?
The natural mineral fluoride offers several dental health benefits that can strengthen and protect your teeth. Fluoride treatment can help:
- Build strong teeth
- Support and protect healthy tooth enamel
- Prevent bacteria from harming your teeth and gums
- Restore important minerals like calcium and phosphorus to your teeth
- Prevent cavities and reduce the severity of cavities
- Prevent tooth decay
- Delay or reduce the need for future expensive dental procedures
Are Fluoride Treatments Safe for Children?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children begin fluoride treatment as soon as their teeth erupt, generally around six months. Most children should plan to receive fluoride treatment every three to six months, depending on the child’s risk of developing cavities in the future.
Children may receive professional fluoride treatment at the dentist or pediatrician’s office. It only takes a few minutes to brush on the varnish, and it hardens almost immediately, so your child may feel the varnish with their tongue but cannot lick it off. The varnish application does not hurt, though you may be asked to hold younger children in your lap during the procedure so they won’t move around.
After a fluoride treatment, your child can immediately eat soft foods and drink cold or warm liquids (not hot). Wait to brush or floss teeth until at least four to six hours after your child’s treatment.
What if My Child Swallows Fluoride?
Fluoride hardens quickly, and usually, a child won’t swallow much fluoride during treatment. However, when using toothpaste with fluoride at home, follow these safety measures to reduce your child’s risk of overexposure:
- Supervise your child whenever they are brushing their teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Children under three only need a tiny amount, about the size of a grain of rice. Those between three and six should use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- After your child brushes with fluoride toothpaste, ensure they spit out as much of the toothpaste as possible.
- Children under six should not use mouthwash or other at-home fluoride rinses, as these products make it easier to swallow fluoride accidentally.
Valley Dental Care of Plainfield Pediatric Dentistry
Many children are reluctant to go to the dentist, fearing possible discomfort. The experienced and friendly dentists at Valley Dental Care of Plainfield are committed to making every child’s dental visit fun and stress-free.
We perform thorough and discomfort-free exams and help teach your child the importance of good oral health, like daily brushing and flossing. Contact us today to learn more.