Fluoride & Your Child

Child drinking water.

Pediatric Dental Care in Chicago, IL

At Yummy Dental & Orthodontics, our mission is to provide high quality dental and orthodontic care while maintaining a fun, friendly office environment. Our doctors and highly trained team of pediatric dental specialists work hard to get to know every patient on an individual level, and we have years of experience making every visit to our office a pleasant experience for all involved. We're also big believers in patient education - and understanding fluoride and the role it plays in your dental health is critically important for maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile.

The Dental Mineral

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that plays a crucial role in tooth development and preventing tooth decay. In fact, fluoride is so important that it's infused into tap water in many communities at a density of .70 parts per million (ppm) - something that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called one of the most significant health achievements of the 20th century.

Some communities don't have fluoridated water, though - and if that's the case for you, we may recommend using a fluoride gel or fluoridated toothpaste. It's important for children to get enough of this vital mineral, as it plays an important role in their dental development.

How Flouride Works

At almost any given moment, the protective outer enamel of your teeth is being attacked by acids. These can come from foods like sodas or citrus, or they can come from bacteria, which break down sugar into acid. If bacteria accumulate enough and make enough acid, it can eventually break through the enamel, causing a cavity. Fluoride, however, binds to enamel and strengthens it, even repairing some small cavities before they get too serious.

Getting Flouride

Children can ingest fluoride in drinking water and use it in their developing permanent teeth, and once teeth have erupted, topical fluoride gels can strengthen them. One method is using fluoridated toothpaste - in general, we recommend using a pea-sized amount for 2-6 year-olds, and just a small smear for children under 2 years old. Additionally, your child can receive a topical fluoride application in our office. We'll paint the gel onto their freshly cleaned teeth and let it sit for a few minutes, maximizing its effectiveness.

Too Much Flouride?

While fluoride is almost a wonder-mineral for teeth, it can cause problems in excess. Teeth that receive too much fluoride before they erupt can develop enamel fluorosis, where the teeth have a streaked or mottled appearance. Correct amount of toothpaste for children.In mild cases, fluorosis creates white spots, which are difficult to see, but in more severe cases, it can cause dark, pitted spots. While unsightly, the condition is actually harmless - but it can necessitate cosmetic dental treatment down the road.  

Fluorosis stops being a risk once a child's permanent teeth have fully formed, usually around age 9. Until then, we're more than happy to talk with you about your child's fluoride needs. We'll consider all the cumulative sources of fluoride your child is getting along with their risk for tooth decay or other problems, and if necessary, we may recommend a topical fluoride gel to supplement your child's intake.

Contact Your Glenview, IL Orthodontist

Have more questions about fluoride or your child's dental health? We're here to help. Feel free to reach out to us at our contact page or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment at our Glenview or Chicago, IL office. We can't wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping your child achieve a healthy, beautiful smile!

Related Articles

Fluoride - Dear Doctor Magazine

Fluoride and Fluoridation in Dentistry The Center for Disease Control says that water fluoridation is “One of the ten most important public health measures of the 20th century.” Extensive systematic reviews of the evidence conclusively show that water fluoridation and fluoride toothpastes both substantially reduce dental decay. Learn why through the amazing fluoride story... Read Article

Topical Fluoride - Dear Doctor Magazine

Topical Flouride Fluoride has a unique ability to strengthen tooth enamel and make it more resistant to decay. That's why dentists often apply it directly to the surfaces of children's teeth after routine dental cleanings. This surface (topical) application can continue to leach fluoride into the tooth surface for a month or more... Read Article

Tooth Decay - Dear Doctor Magazine

Tooth Decay — A Preventable Disease Tooth decay is the number one reason children and adults lose teeth during their lifetime. Yet many people don't realize that it is a preventable infection. This article explores the causes of tooth decay, its prevention, and the relationship to bacteria, sugars, and acids... Read Article