Using fluoride prevents tooth decay. But fluoride is a complex element which should be used sparingly.
Most people of a certain generation have already received the application of fluoride at the dentist, when they were young. Placed in a gutter of foam, it was inserted into the mouth and bitten for a few moments. The product then had to be spit out. This principle is still used, and for a good cause!
Using fluoride prevents tooth decay. It is therefore an excellent ally during periodic visits to the dentist, since it is applied to freshly cleaned teeth, which are therefore receptive to the product. Several national and international professional he alth organizations - notably the World He alth Organization (WHO) and the Canadian dental association - recognize that its use prevents cavities, because it protects the enamel of the teeth from acids that cause decay. caries due to a cariostatic effect. Fluoride is also found in water, because it is added by some cities and municipalities. Moreover, several studies have been done, specifying that fluoridated drinking water considerably reduces thedental caries in children. It is therefore an excellent reason to motivate our children to drink water, in addition to all the other benefits it gives us.
Dentists still use it
Today, the fluoride used by the dentist has evolved. The texture is more pleasant (some companies, like Oral B, make fluorides in foam form) and the taste has been improved. Children enjoy the application of fluoride, available in various flavors, such as strawberry, orange and the very classic bubblegum. The same foam gutters are used. If your child is nauseous when the trays are placed in the mouth, the dental hygienist will not hesitate to place them one by one or to apply fluoride using a swab.
Toothpastes also have fluoride added, for the majority. In adults this is not a problem, but in children it is otherwise. Children under the age of six, therefore those who are most likely to swallow a certain amount of paste when brushing and whose teeth are in full formation, can develop fluorosis. Fluorosis is in a way an overdose of fluoride. It will not form if your child drinks too much fluoridated water, don't worry! It takes excessive fluoride intake to risk fluorosis.
The consequences of fluorosis are pain, chewing difficulties and staining of the teeth, which can look likewhite or brownish spots. He alth Canada has established a labeling code for products containing fluoride, and the directions for use are always clear, because children usually swallow these products.
Here are some tips and advice to keep your child's fluoride intake optimal while not being excessive:
- Find out if the water in your municipality is fluoridated.
- Just use a toothbrush to brush the teeth of a child under two years old. Since they don't have the spitting reflex, they could swallow large amounts of toothpaste. The use of fluoridated toothpaste is recommended when a child is able to spit it out, around the age of two.
- The amount of toothpaste used in young children should not exceed the size of a grain of rice. When municipal water is not fluoridated, it may be a good idea to let your child swallow his toothpaste from time to time. This will give him a slight fluoride boost which may benefit him.
There are fluoride supplements, in tablets and drops. However, there are pros and cons. The supplement can be useful if the municipal water is not fluoridated: it therefore guarantees a certain fluoride intake. On the other hand, it is possible that the parents forget to give doses, which decreases the effectiveness, and it is also possible to take too much if taken togetherwith other fluorinated products, which is not better. The ideal is therefore to use toothpaste as the first source of fluoride, and to let a professional advise you on the use of supplements, if deemed necessary.
A little tip when whitening teeth
Tooth whitening done with dental office products can make your teeth sensitive to cold. Before applying the whitening product in the trays, you can fill the trays with neutral fluoride (which you can ask your dentist for). We leave them in the mouth for fifteen minutes, we spit out the excess without rinsing and we then apply the whitening product. This dramatically reduces sensitivity and makes the whitening experience more enjoyable!
Fluoride is a complex element that should be used sparingly. If you have any reservations about this, do not hesitate to discuss them with your dental professional. He will be able to guide and advise you and he will be happy to do so!