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Fluoride is safe and effective for children and also beneficial for preventing cavities. It is an ingredient in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and gels. In many communities, it is added to the local water supply. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, research has shown fluoridated water supplies have lowered instances of tooth decay by 50 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also supports fluoridated water supplies and says it is entirely safe for children.

Here, we share some helpful information about fighting cavities with nature’s cavity fighter.

Children should use ADA-approved toothpaste

The American Dental Association (ADA) puts their seal on recommended over-the-counter oral health products. Training toothpastes are available for young children from infancy to two years old. Dentists recommend wiping infants’ gums and gently brushing teeth as soon as they appear. Then at age three, switch to a child-friendly toothpaste with fluoride. In addition, always be sure to help your child brush at least twice each day. Encourage good oral care habits throughout childhood and teen years. Show your children how you care for your own teeth and gums. As a result, they will understand the importance of preventing cavities.

A dentist may recommend a topical treatment or supplements

The dentist will discuss your child’s fluoride needs with you. He or she may recommend a topical treatment during a visit. A dental professional brushes on fluoride varnish or gel quickly and painlessly. Foam in a mouth guard may also be used. These treatments can help prevent or slow down tooth decay. The dentist might recommend supplements for a child who is not receiving the recommended amount of fluoride for proper oral care.

Foods and beverages also contain fluoride

Calcium and vitamin D are beneficial to strong and healthy teeth. Avocados, grapes, raisins, and iceberg lettuce are among those that contain fluoride.

It is safe to mix tap water with infant formula

According to the American Dental Association, it is safe to use fluoridated water to mix infant formula. The risk of mixing formula with fluoridated water is mild fluorosis. While this is not a serious issue, parents can choose bottled water if desired. Most importantly, always ask your pediatrician if you have questions or concerns.

It strengthens tooth enamel

Tooth enamel is the hard coating on teeth. Fluoride mixes with tooth enamel to protect against sugars and plaque as teeth grow. Furthermore, it helps rebuild weakened tooth enamel in adult teeth. Even though you spit out toothpaste and rinse, enough fluoride remains to protect after brushing. Protecting tooth enamel helps to prevent cavities.

Talk to your dentist, pediatrician or family physician about your child’s specific needs. In the Raleigh area? Contact us to schedule your child’s next appointment.