Fluoride treatments are one of the best defenses that parents can take to protect their child’s teeth against tooth decay. Fluoride is an effective cavity prevention method, as the substance can coat the teeth to prevent plaque from building up, hardening, and forming tartar.
The Importance of Fluoride for Kids
Fluoride is especially important for children between the ages of six months and 16 years. During this time, the primary and permanent teeth will come in, so fluoride will help to strengthen these developing teeth.
Getting a Fluoride Treatment
The American Dental Association recommends that parents invest in fluoride treatments twice per year for their child’s teeth. This service will only take a few minutes, and the fluoride can be applied in foam, gel, or varnish form during the appointment. The varnish will be painted directly onto the teeth, while fluoride foam or gel can be placed on the teeth via a tray similar in appearance to a mouth guard.
Fluoride treatments are painless, but after the treatment, your child will be asked not to drink, eat, or rinse for a minimum of 30 minutes. This gives the fluoride ample time to be absorbed by the teeth. Depending on your child’s oral health, your dentist may recommend having fluoride treatments every 3-12 months, and an at-home fluoride product may also be prescribed.
Other Forms of Fluoride
In addition to fluoride treatments at your dentist’s office, there are other ways that your child can get adequate fluoride. This mineral is found in public drinking water and certain foods, and it can be applied directly to the teeth via mouth rinses and toothpastes. Mouthwashes that contain low strengths of fluoride can be purchased over-the-counter, while those with stronger concentrations can be accessed with a prescription from your doctor or dentist.