Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that works to remineralize the tooth enamel, preventing tooth decay and cavities. In addition, fluoride can strengthen the teeth as they develop to make sure they are strong and healthy, making fluoride very important for children as their teeth grow in. Having fluoride professionally applied during a pediatric dental visit helps prevent or minimize acidic breakdown of enamel.
How Does Fluoride Prevent Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus mutans. Streptococcus mutans are naturally occurring bacteria that live in everybody’s mouth, on the surface of teeth. When Streptococcus mutans consume and digest sugar, this bacteria produces an acid that dissolves tooth enamel. Fluoride can help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and prevent cavities.
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by protecting tooth enamel from plaque and sugars. Fluoride also strengthens teeth by aiding the buildup of healthy minerals in the enamel and fighting existing tooth decay as well.
What Is A Fluoride Treatment?
Fluoride treatment is the application of a topical fluoride to the tops and sides of each tooth. After a dental cleaning, a fluoride varnish is applied using a small paintbrush. This process is painless and can be completed within minutes. This special varnish is especially convenient for younger patients, as the formula hardens as it comes into contact with saliva, so you do not need to worry about your child licking it off. This dental treatment can be useful in preventing tooth decay in children, or slowing and stopping existing tooth decay, and can be done two to four times a year.
A fluoride varnish is most effective when a child also keeps up their regular dental hygiene in brushing, flossing, eating healthy, and continued visits to the dentist.
What Children Can Benefit From A Fluoride Treatment?
A fluoride varnish is a useful preventative measure in children with cavity-free teeth and is also effective in helping children with high-sugar diets that are susceptible to tooth decay. While a fluoride treatment would be beneficial to infants, toddlers, and children as their teeth are still developing, fluoride treatments can be continued until at least the age of 16.
What Can We Expect After My Child’s Fluoride Treatment?
You can safely feed your child cold or warm food and drink immediately after your child’s fluoride treatment. Hot foods and liquids will have to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour. Though keeping up regular dental care is important, avoid brushing and flossing your child’s teeth for four to six hours after the fluoride varnish treatment.
If you want to learn more about fluoride treatment and how it might benefit your child’s dental health, call our pediatric dental experts at All Kids Dental in Suffolk, VA today!