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Fluoride: How Much Is Too Much?

November 12, 2020

Fluoride: How Much Is Too Much?

Keeping your child’s teeth healthy involves more than brushing and flossing every day. It’s also important to ensure your child receives adequate amounts of fluoride for healthy tooth development and cavity protection. The question is, how much fluoride is too much? Your trusted team at Jet Set Smiles Pediatric Dentistry will help you determine the right amount of fluoride for your child for maximum protection.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in plants, rocks, soil, and water. It has been touted as “nature’s cavity fighter” by the American Dental Association because of its ability to strengthen teeth, making them more resistant to cavity-causing bacteria. 

What Are the Benefits of Fluoride?

As your little one’s teeth grow and develop, fluoride helps strengthen and make them more resistant to erosion from bacteria, acids, and sugars, reducing the likelihood of future decay. Fluoride treatment is one of the safest and most effective ways to prevent cavities altogether. Moreover, it can help rebuild tooth enamel and, in many cases, reverses tooth decay in its early stages. Because of its many benefits, most toothpaste options include fluoride. 

How Much Fluoride Does Your Child Need?

Too much fluoride is potentially harmful to your child. It can cause permanent tooth discoloration and may cause some health issues, so it’s important to know how much fluoride your child needs. In general, infants under the age of six months do not require any fluoride supplements. Fluoridated drinking water usually provides the necessary amount of fluoride for children from six months to about three years of age. If your child does not drink fluoridated water, we may recommend a fluoride supplement.

The best way to avoid fluoride overexposure is to ensure your child uses the right amount of toothpaste. Once the first baby teeth appear, brush with a soft, child-sized toothbrush and a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste, no larger than a rice grain. At around age three, your child will be better at spitting and is ready for a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Make sure you monitor your child while brushing until at least age five or six when you are sure that rinsing and spitting out after brushing are mastered. Make sure you keep any toothpaste containers out of reach of young children to prevent accidental swallowing. 

What Is Dental Fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis usually occurs before age eight and results from too much fluoride exposure when the teeth are forming below the gums. It is mostly a cosmetic concern with streaks, pits, and spots forming on the surfaces of permanent teeth. However, there are no adverse health effects. To minimize the chances of developing fluorosis, make sure your child spits out the toothpaste after brushing.

In-Office Fluoride Treatment

If we find your child is not receiving sufficient fluoride, we may recommend preventive fluoride treatments. They are especially beneficial to children who do not drink fluoridated water and those who consume plenty of sugar, do not brush regularly, or have signs of tooth decay. The quick and painless treatment will help promote long-term healthy smiles.

Quality Preventive Dentistry in Phoenix, AZ

Visit Jet Set Smiles Pediatric Dentistry to learn more about the importance of fluoride to your child’s oral health. We will evaluate your child’s teeth and determine whether the fluoride intake is adequate to keep dental decay and cavities at bay. We are passionate about maintaining our young patients’ healthy, beautiful smiles. Call us and schedule your appointment today!