Fluoride & Children

We all want the best for our kids, and we do our best to keep them healthy and strong.  With so much conflicting health-related information on the internet, sometimes it’s hard for parents to know the best course of action.  Today we want to help clear up some misconceptions about fluoride.  


What is fluoride?  Is it harmful to my family?

Fluoride is a naturally-occuring mineral in most water sources and also in many foods.  In appropriate doses, it helps prevent cavities. In fact, most communities actually add fluoride to the water systems to improve the overall dental health of the community’s members.  The CDC and ADA both agree that fluoride is a safe, effective, and healthy way to help the general public maintain their oral health.


Is it okay to expose our babies and kids to fluoride?

In appropriate doses, fluoride is great for our babies and children!  Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in water and many food sources, and there’s absolutely no reason to go out of your way to avoid it, unless you have a specific medical concern.  


Should I choose a fluoride toothpaste for my young children?  

YES.  The American Dental Association recommends that fluoride be used as soon as baby teeth erupt.  For children age 2 and younger, use no more than a “smear” - the size of a grain of rice.  For children age 3 to 6, use a pea-sized amount.


What if my child swallows his/her fluoride toothpaste?

If your child is using the recommended amounts, accidentally swallowing toothpaste is harmless, though certainly should be avoided if possible.  Under age 7, we strongly urge our young patients’ parents to take a very active role in brushing their children’s teeth until they are old enough to care for their own oral health.  As soon as children are able to understand instruction, they should be taught to spit out their toothpaste.  


What are the risks of my child ingesting too much fluoride?

Children who ingest very large quantities of fluoride may be at risk for pitted tooth enamel and dental fluorosis (mild white staining on teeth).  However, dental experts and organizations agree that under parental supervision, the benefits using fluoride for babies’ and children’s teeth far outweigh the risks.


I have more questions!  Who should I call to learn more?

Contact our Houston dental office!  Our pediatric dentists are always happy to assist with any questions you might have regarding your children’s dental care.