The most effective way for your child to get fluoride’s protection is by drinking water containing the right amount of the mineral… about one part fluoride per million parts water. This is of special benefit to children, because fluoride is incorporated into enamel as teeth form. Children who, from birth, drink water containing fluoride have up to 40% fewer cavities. Many of them remain cavity-free through their teens.
Fluoride is one of the most effective elements for preventing tooth decay. This mineral combines with tooth enamel to strengthen it against decay. Fluoride may also actually reverse microscopic cavities by enhancing the process by which minerals, including calcium, are incorporated into the teeth.
Even though your regular water supply may be fluoridated, it is still important to discuss with your dentist any additional fluoride needs your child may have. Look for fluoride toothpastes and over-the-counter fluoride mouth rinses that carry the ADA seal. They have been proven safe and effective for their intended use. The advertising claims for these products have been reviewed by the ADA so the claims are accurate and not misleading. Your dentist may recommend various ways to get fluoride protection, including:
- Drinking fluoridated water at school.
- Taking prescribed fluoride tablets or drops.
- Brushing with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste after age two.
- Using a fluoride mouth rinse for children over age six.