Fluoride treatments are beneficial to your dental health. Fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel to make it more resistant to decay and damage. Your dentist may recommend fluoride treatments as a preventive measure to avoid cavities.
Should kids get fluoride treatments? Is fluoride safe for children of all ages? Here’s what you should know about fluoride treatments and their use in pediatric dentistry.
What Are Fluoride Treatments?
Fluoride treatment is the term for applying dental grade fluoride to the teeth. Fluoride treatments come in a variety of forms, including:
- Mouth rinse. Some fluoride treatments come in liquid form that you swish around in your mouth for a certain period of time and then spit out.
- Gel. Fluoride treatment may come in a gel form that is brushed onto the teeth by your dentist.
- Varnish. A fluoride varnish is applied to the teeth by your dentist with a brush or applicator and forms a layer that sticks to the teeth. Your dentist may instruct your child to skip brushing their teeth that night to allow the fluoride to remain on the teeth for a longer period of time.
Other Sources of Fluoride
Fluoride can also come from other sources, such as:
- Drinking water. Fluoride has been added to the drinking water in most cities since the mid 1940s when research showed a reduction in tooth decay as a result. If your household water comes from the city and not a well, your child’s teeth are already exposed to fluoride.
- Toothpaste. Most toothpastes contain fluoride, with the exception of some infant toothpaste and some other types that are made for those that have a sensitivity to fluoride. Prescription strength toothpaste contains a higher concentration of fluoride for patients who are prone to cavities and tooth sensitivity.
- Mouthwash. Anti-cavity mouthwash typically contains fluoride as well so that whenever you use it, your teeth get exposed to additional fluoride.
- Foods. Many foods naturally contain fluoride, such as grapes, spinach, potatoes, and shellfish.
Dental Associates For Kids Only, LLP Recommend Fluoride Treatments for Kids
Most pediatric dentists agree that fluoride treatments are an important part of preventive dentistry for children. When baby teeth and permanent teeth first erupt through the gums, the enamel isn’t fully hardened and may be thinner, putting new teeth at risk of decay. Fluoride hardens the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. Children who receive fluoride treatments regularly will have stronger teeth throughout their lives.
Dental Associates for Kids Only, LLP recommends fluoride treatments on a regular schedule for all children, not just those who have cavities. Fluoride is safe for children as long as it is not swallowed in large quantities.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fluoride Treatments
Are fluoride treatments covered by insurance?
Most insurance plans cover fluoride treatments because they are considered preventive. They may be covered once a year or twice a year depending on your plan. Even if your insurance doesn’t cover it, fluoride treatments are very affordable.
How often should children have fluoride treatments?
Dentists recommend fluoride treatments for kids every 6 months during routine teeth cleaning visits, but once a year is still better than none at all. What is best for your child may depend on their teeth.