Fluoride is an element, which has been shown to be beneficial to teeth. However, too little or too much fluoride can be detrimental to the teeth. Little or no fluoride will not strengthen the teeth to help them resist cavities. Excessive fluoride ingestion by preschool-aged children can lead to dental fluorosis, which is a chalky white to even brown discoloration of the permanent teeth. Many children often get more fluoride than their parents realize. Being aware of a child’s potential sources of fluoride can help parents prevent the possibility of dental fluorosis.
For preventing dental decay fluorides are applied to the teeth in minimum required amount. These can be applied professionally or can be used at home. At home the fluoirde forms available for use are in the form of toothpaste and mouth washes.
Ideally fluoride toothpaste and mouthwashes are given to the child when they can expectorate that is usually when the child is more than 4 years old. Professionally applied fluorides are available in the form of gels and varnishes and applied only by dentist these can be applied only in the dental office.
HOW DOES FLUORIDE PREVENT CAVITIES
- Fluoride inhibits loss of minerals from the tooth enamel.
- Fluoride also effects bacteria that cause cavities by discouraging acid attacks on the tooth.
- Risk for decay is reduced when fluoride is combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene
- Caries active children
- Children who are on saliva reduction medications under radiation therapy
- Medically and physically challenged children