Need to Know: Fluoride Treatments for Your Child

Need to Know: Fluoride Treatments for Your Child
Posted on 10/11/2023
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Fluoride is an important mineral that protects tooth enamel. It's often added to municipal water supplies, and it's a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride is proven to protect tooth enamel from cavities if you also provide proper dental care for your child.

Your child's dentist may recommend fluoride treatments at each dental visit and cleaning starting with the eruption of your child's first tooth. Here's what you should know about fluoride treatments for your child.

When Is a Fluoride Treatment Given?

When your child is old enough to start going to the dentist, which is usually when the first tooth erupts, they may start fluoride treatments. The treatments are usually given after a dental cleaning and polishing.

When the teeth are clean, the fluoride is applied. If your child has dental cleanings every six months, they may also have fluoride treatments on the same frequency.

However, your child's dentist will recommend the best frequency for dental visits, cleanings, and fluoride treatments based on your child's age and dental health.

How Are Fluoride Treatments Given?

Fluoride treatments can be given as liquid or foam, but varnish is a good option for kids. The varnish is painted on your child's teeth, and it hardens right away when it contacts saliva. This keeps your child from swallowing the fluoride or licking it off their teeth. Fluoride varnish comes in different flavors for kids, and your dentist may let your child choose a flavor to make getting the varnish more fun.

Fluoride treatments are usually tolerated well by kids. The treatments aren't painful, but toddlers might be fussy if they don't want to open their mouths or stay still during the process.

What Happens After a Fluoride Treatment?

The varnish should stay in place long enough for the tooth enamel to absorb it. Your child's dentist lets you know how long to wait before your child can eat or drink. The dentist also tells you how long to wait before brushing your child's teeth. After the allotted time has passed, you continue with your child's usual dental care routine of brushing and flossing on the schedule recommended by your dentist.

Fluoride works on the enamel to protect against cavities and to help remineralize cavities, but it can't fight cavities alone. Your child still needs to practice good daily oral hygiene using products recommended by the dentist that may contain small amounts of fluoride. Your child's dentist may recommend fluoride treatments throughout childhood and as an adult.

What Are the Benefits of Fluoride Treatments?

Fluoride treatments help healthy teeth stay stronger and they are also given to help cavities remineralize when the cavities are small. If a cavity can be reversed, it saves your child from getting a filling.

By keeping your child's tooth enamel strong and preventing cavities, you can protect your child from the pain of a toothache and the risk of an infection. Toothaches are no fun for anyone, especially kids, so good dental practices are important.

Your child's dentist may have other ways to protect your child's teeth, such as applying a sealant or providing braces, but fluoride treatments are often part of a well-rounded approach that keeps your child's teeth as healthy as possible as they grow. Healthy baby teeth lead to healthy permanent teeth and a life that isn't plagued by frequent dental problems.

Getting regular fluoride treatments and dental cleanings helps plant the seeds of taking good care of teeth so your child continues the good habits into adulthood.

If you have children of any age who need dental care or preventative treatments, call for an appointment with Treasured Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. We're experienced in making children comfortable during their visit, so they develop a positive relationship with dental care.

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