What is fluoride and how can it help your child prevent tooth decay?

Fluoride is a natural mineral found throughout the earth which also can be found in some foods and water. Studies have shown that when fluoride is added to the community water supply, the frequency of tooth decay among adults and children, decreases.

How does fluoride prevent cavities?

The tooth is protected by a layer called the enamel. Over time, certain acids that are formed by bacteria and sugars, may attack the enamel, thereby leaving the tooth exposed to decay. However, fluoride and other minerals such as calcium and phosphate help to rebuild the strength of your enamel making it more difficult for bacteria and decay to develop.  In some cases, fluoride may also help reverse early tooth decay! 

At Bunker Hill Pediatric Dentistry in Houston, Texas, we believe that fluoride treatment is a very important element for protecting your teeth against decay especially if your child is at increased risk for tooth decay such as:  

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Active cavities
  • Eating disorders
  • Poor diet
  • Tooth enamel defects

How can your child receive the benefits of fluoride?

Besides from being found in water and certain foods such as meat, fish and eggs, fluoride is typically added to toothpastes or mouth rinses. Parents should take note that the level of fluoride in water, foods and over the counter mouth rinses and toothpastes is considered a low dose and may not be adequate for your child. Many dentists, including Houston Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Linh Luu can provide a higher level of fluoride which is directly applied to the teeth usually in the form of a gel or foam.

Children may also be given fluoride supplements to take in small doses each day - especially if there is not enough fluoride in your local Houston regular water supply, or you tend to use store bought bottled water.  If you have questions on how much fluoride level is right for your child or family, be sure to ask one of our pediatric dentists at your next visit.