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Drs. Otero

Fluoride: To Be Or Not To Be?

For many years, fluoride has been the subject of heated conversations and arguments about if it really does the trick of preventing cavities. Some state that it can do more harm than good, but if used properly, fluoride brings a realm of goodness to the oral cavity. When used properly, fluoride is known as the “natural cavity fighter” & is more resistant to acidity that causes tooth decay than many other supplements.

How Does Fluoride Protect Your Teeth?

Before teeth break through the gums in infants, fluoride is taken in from foods, beverages or breast milk, making tooth enamel stronger and easier to resist tooth decay. After teeth erupt, fluoride helps rebuild tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay.

How Do I Get Fluoride?

Drink Water with Fluoride

Fluoride is naturally found in most all water sources. For the past seventy-five years, fluoride has been added to many public water supplies to bring fluoride levels up to the amount necessary to help prevent tooth decay.

Due to the important role it has played in the reduction of tooth decay, the CDC has proclaimed community water fluoridation one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. Studies prove water fluoridation continues to help prevent tooth decay by at least 25% in children and adults, even with fluoride available from other sources, such as toothpaste. Today, almost 75 percent of the U.S. population is served by fluoridated community water systems.

Use Toothpaste and Mouthwash with Fluoride

*Look for a toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance to make sure it contains fluoride*

  • Brush twice a day (morning and night).
  • For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they start to appear in the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.
  • For children 3 to 6 years old, use no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Always supervise your child’s brushing to make sure they use the right amount and try to get your child to spit out most of the toothpaste.

Mouthwash with fluoride can help make your teeth more resistant to decay, but children six years or younger should not use it unless it’s been recommended by a dentist. Many children younger than 6 are more likely to swallow it than spit it out because their swallowing reflexes aren’t fully developed.

Visit Our Office for a Professional Application
If you are at higher risk of getting cavities, one of our hygienists can apply fluoride directly to your teeth during your dental visit. Most dental insurances will pay for a fluoride application. Feel free to call us if you have any questions!

Take a Fluoride Supplement
Available by prescription only, fluoride supplements come in tablet, drop or lozenge forms. They are recommended only for children ages six months to 16 years living in areas without adequate amounts of fluoride in their community drinking water and who are at high risk of developing cavities.

We recommended that you talk to Dr. Otero about your child’s specific fluoride needs. Call our office today to schedule an evaluation!

(Sources: Mouthhealthy.org)