Healthy Mouth Healthy Body

Flouride Needs

Flouride is naturally present in all water sources including oceans, rivers and lakes. It is also added to community tap water, toothpastes and mouth rinse. Many toddlers and infants that do not get adequate amount of flouride might be affected with tooth decay as flouride helps in improving the resistance and repair of weakened tooth enamel. Hence, children that drink bottled water might not get sufficient amount of flouride as bottled water does not contain flouride. You can contact your local and state health department or water supplier to make sure that your community tap water contains flouride.

IDA recommends that you talk to your dentist about your child’s flouride needs. Your dentist might recommend flouride supplement if the community-tap water is not flouridated. However, excess flouridation can be harmful and lead to condition called flourosis. To get the right information consult with your dentist rather than being misled by advertisements.

  • Flourosis

Generally, misunderstood as a disease, enamel flourosis normally affects the way your tooth appears. Mostly, enamel flourosis appears as barely noticeable faint white streaks or lines on the enamel, not affecting the function of your teeth. In some cases, the effect is minimal and therefore only a dental professional can see it during examination. It occurs when teeth are forming under the gums. Once they have broken through the gums they cannot develop enamel flourosis.

How to Reduce the Risk of Enamel Flourosis?

Enamel flourosis can be prevented by not allowing children to consume flouride products like flouride toothpaste. Parents should ensure that for the children below three years of age they brush the teeth of their children with small proportion of flouride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day or as directed by the dentist. It is also important that adults supervise the amount of toothpaste children use to ensure that they are not using excess of flouride toothpaste. This will also ensure that children do not swallow toothpaste while brushing.

Recent studies also suggest that use of flouridated water occassionally to reconstitute infant formula does not impact the chances of enamel flourosis. Drinking flouridated water does help in reducing tooth decay in children and adults, but it might also lead to enamel flourosis in a small percentage.

IDA recommends that you check your child’s mouth regularly and consult your dentist when you see anything wrong. Prevention is the right thing and therefore early detection can help your child to get the best treatment as early as possible.