What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a compound that contains fluorine, a natural element. Using small amounts of fluoride on a routine basis can help prevent such decay. Research shows that fluoride contributes significantly to lowered decay rates in children, which means that fewer children grow up with cavities. Fluoride can be found as an active ingredient in many dental products such as toothpastes, mouth rinses, gels and varnishes.

How does fluoride prevent cavities?

Fluoride inhibits loss of minerals from tooth enamel and encourages re-mineralization (strengthening areas that are weakened and beginning to develop cavities). Fluoride also affects bacteria that cause cavities, discouraging acid attacks that break down the tooth. Risk for decay is reduced even more when fluoride is combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.

How safe is fluoride?

Using fluoride for the prevention and control of decay is proven to be both safe and effective. Nevertheless, products containing fluoride should be stored out of the reach of children. Too much fluoride could cause fluorosis of developing permanent teeth. Fluorosis is usually a mild discoloration of the teeth that can range from white to yellow or brown discoloration. Development of fluorosis depends on the amount, duration and timing of excessive fluoride intake.

What type of tooth paste should my child use?

Most international paediatric dentistry organizations currently recommend that children should brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. To prevent the children from ingesting too much fluoride, the parents should dispense the tooth paste for their children

How much toothpaste should my child use?

For children under two years old, a smear layer of fluoride toothpaste should be used, for ages 2-5 years, a pea sized amount is recommended.

What is topical fluoride?

Topical fluoride is a preventive agent applied to tooth enamel. It occurs in many different forms. A dental professional places gel or foam in trays that is held against the teeth for up to 4 minutes. Fluoride varnish is brushed or “painted” on the enamel. Children who benefit the most from fluoride are those at highest risk decay. Risk factors include a history of previous cavities a diet high in sugar or carbohydrates, orthodontic appliances, and certain medical conditions


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