Dentist in Katy
As an adult, you may be used to getting a fluoride treatment at the end of each of your six-month checkups at Wilson Dentistry. Children, however, also greatly benefit from fluoride treatments. Once your child has begun coming in for regular six-month dental cleanings, we may begin fluoride treatments as well. This provides your child’s teeth with additional protection against cavities and helps ensure that they maintain good oral health.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that the body uses to strengthen teeth. It helps prevent cavities, and it has been used in family dentistry for years. It has been proven to have positive effects on the oral health of children and adults, and it is completely safe. Water provided by a municipal water source has fluoride added to it, as do many toothpastes and mouthwashes. In addition to protecting teeth from cavities, fluoride can even help reverse cavities that are very small and have just begun forming.
What Is a Fluoride Treatment?
When a patient comes in for their six-month checkup and cleaning, a fluoride treatment is usually one of the last things we do after the dental exam and the professional cleaning. There are a few different ways a fluoride treatment can be done. With younger children, we will often do a varnish treatment. We dip a small brush into a special fluoride varnish and paint it on the teeth. The saliva in the mouth causes this varnish to harden, creating a barrier that remains until the patient brushes their teeth. As the varnish remains on the teeth for a good portion of the day, it is able to penetrate into the external enamel coating and strengthen it.
Another fluoride treatment method used is gel. We fill a disposable mouth tray with this gel and place it in the patient’s mouth. The gel remains in the mouth for a few minutes. After the trays are removed, the patient should avoid eating or drinking for about half an hour to give it time to penetrate the enamel. Younger children may find these trays a little too bulky and uncomfortable, though.
Who Should Get a Fluoride Treatment?
Anyone can get a fluoride treatment, and most people do benefit from them. For those who have good oral health, we may only do a fluoride treatment once a year or every other visit. For those who have many cavities or are in poor oral health, we may need to do them more often. Having a poor diet may leave you without the fluoride you need to keep your teeth healthy. Those who are struggling with an eating disorder, have chronic dry mouth, or who have not been in to see us in quite some time may also need more frequent fluoride treatments.
If you or your child falls into one of those categories, we may actually have you come in between your six-month cleanings for additional fluoride treatments so the dentist can talk to you about ways to increase your fluoride intake.
In addition to fluoride, the type of toothpaste your child uses is important. So, you already know that your child needs to brush their teeth. You also know that they need a toothbrush that is specifically designed for their smaller mouth. However, your child doesn’t just need a toothbrush; they also need toothpaste. Looking at the sheer number of choices when it comes to toothpaste can be overwhelming. At Wilson Dentistry, we can help you to select the right toothpaste for your child.
Why Toothpaste is Important
While the act of brushing itself helps to remove plaque and bacteria from your child’s teeth, this alone is not enough. This is where toothpaste comes in. Toothpaste, in addition to proper brushing, helps to remove further this harmful buildup, which protects your child’s teeth from developing cavities. Toothpaste helps to give their teeth a clean feeling and freshens their breath. Additionally, many toothpastes contain fluoride, which is an essential mineral for keeping teeth strong and preventing tooth decay.
What’s the Difference Between All of the Different Toothpastes?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of different toothpastes available. Not all toothpastes are created the same. Some toothpastes contain abrasive agents that scrub tooth enamel. Different brands contain different amounts of fluoride. Some contain no fluoride. There are also many different flavors available. If you are unsure of what type of toothpaste to choose for your child, we can help point you in the right direction.
Select a Toothpaste with the ADA Seal
One of the first things you should look for in toothpaste for your child is the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. Toothpastes with this seal have been tested for many different things, including the effectiveness of the ingredients, safety of the ingredients, and good manufacturing standards. The seal lets you know that the ingredients are FDA-approved. You will find the seal displayed prominently on the packaging, so you will not miss it.
Read the Ingredients Label
Check the ingredient label of the toothpaste before you purchase it. Avoid abrasive ingredients. Your child’s tooth enamel is more delicate, and abrasive agents can cause damage. You should also check for ingredients such as sodium laurel sulfate, or SLS, as these can cause canker sores in some children.
You May Need to Experiment With Toothpaste Flavors
Toothpaste has many flavors. While the flavor does not impact the effectiveness of the toothpaste, it can impact whether or not your child wants to brush. This may take a bit of experimentation to find a flavor that appeals to your child.
Does My Child Need Fluoride?
Fluoride is an important mineral that helps to strengthen tooth enamel and protects the teeth against decay. Fluoride can be found in many sources, including treated tap water, supplements, dental treatments, and toothpaste. Generally, it is recommended that children use fluoridated toothpaste to help keep their teeth strong and cavity-free. Make sure that your child can spit out their toothpaste. Ingesting too much fluoride can have a negative impact on their adult teeth. If you have any concerns about fluoride, please do not hesitate to ask us.
If you have any questions about what type of toothpaste or fluoride treatment is best for your child, call Wilson Dentistry at (346) 340-5440 today for more information.