Parenthood involves a lot of decisions that, with all the conflicting information out there, aren’t always easy to make. From gluten-free diets to how much screen time you allow, it can be hard to know if you’re making the right choice. One thing is certain: Including a fluoride treatment in Rowlett at your child’s dental checkups is a safe and effective way to keep them cavity-free. Keep reading to learn what fluoride is and why a pediatric dentist recommends it for your child!
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens teeth, much like calcium strengthens bones. Ingesting fluoride in the water supply primarily strengthens children’s teeth that haven’t come in yet (i.e. that are still developing), while topical fluoride strengthens the teeth that have already come in.
Fluoride hardens “soft spots” that have been damaged by sugars and acids before they turn into cavities, and professional treatments have been shown over many years to be a safe and effective way to prevent decay.
In fact, fluoride is so effective that most insurance plans cover it for patients younger than 19. Insurance companies know that children who get these preventative treatments usually need less dental work than those who don’t!
Is Fluoride Safe For Children?
There are two main ways for your child to get fluoride: ingesting it through water or supplementation or having it applied topically. Fluoride is only unsafe if it’s ingested in large amounts, which is highly unlikely with topical treatments.
How Is a Fluoride Treatment Done?
There are various types of fluoride treatments, including a varnish that’s painted on with a small brush and foam put in a tray your child bites down on for 2 minutes. The type a pediatric dentist in Rowlett recommends will depend on your child’s age and other factors. Both of these treatments can be done in minutes after your child’s teeth have been cleaned and examined during their checkup.
The varnish is tooth-colored so it won’t be very noticeable to other people, but your child will feel a thin coating on their teeth until they brush it away later (it should be left on a minimum of 4 hours, and preferably overnight).
What Are the After-Care Instructions?
The after-care instructions will help make sure the treatment is effective. For a 2-minute foam treatment, your child shouldn’t eat, drink, or chew gum for at least 30 minutes afterwards.
Since a varnish remains on the teeth longer, the instructions are a bit more involved:
- Your child shouldn’t brush their teeth for at least 4 hours.
- Only soft foods should be eaten for the first 4 hours (no chips, popcorn, nuts, etc.)
- Hot beverages shouldn’t be consumed until the varnish is brushed away.
When it comes to keeping your child’s teeth healthy, prevention is the name of the game. With good oral hygiene at home, regular dental care, and fluoride treatments, you can help your child avoid cavities altogether!
About the Author
Dr. Tera Pollock is a pediatric dentist in Rowlett with over 25 years of experience who focuses on prevention first, treatment second. She recommends a fluoride treatment with each checkup because it’s safe, effective, and goes a long way towards preventing cavities in her patients. If you have any questions about fluoride, she can be reached via her website.