Fluoride & Your Child

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Child drinking water.At Arhart Dental, we proudly provide a comprehensive range of dentistry services to patients of all ages living in the Shakopee, MN area. Whether you need teeth cleaning in Shakopee to keep your smile looking great or endodontic treatment like a root canal to save a damaged tooth, we’ve got all the dental care your family needs under one roof.

There’s nothing more important to Dr. Arhart and his team than helping our younger patients achieve and maintain the healthy and attractive smiles they deserve. That’s why we’ve created a relaxing and fun office environment and take the time to teach your little ones all about caring for their smiles.

When it comes to protecting your child’s teeth from decay, there are a few things you can do like limit how many sweets your child eats and make sure he or she is practicing good oral hygiene. You can also make sure that your child is getting enough cavity-fighting fluoride, typically found in most public tap water and many dental care products like toothpaste and mouth rinses.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral found in the earth’s crust and water. Decades ago, it was discovered that kids who naturally had more fluoride in their drinking water had fewer cavities. By the 1940s, communities across the nation began to add fluoride to their water supplies to help people guard against tooth decay.

Even though tooth decay is still a significant problem in the United States, there are far fewer people being affected by it, thanks to the fluoridation of public water supplies. That’s why major dental & medical organizations support water fluoridation at the currently recommended levels of 0.70 parts per million (ppm). It’s also why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls public water fluoridation one of the 20th Century’s most significant health achievements.

For our young patients who don’t get enough fluoride, Dr. Arhart sometimes recommends a fluoride supplement and the use of toothpaste and other dental care products that contain fluoride. Because it is possible for kids to get too much fluoride, our office asks parents to check with us before allowing their children to use any products containing fluoride.

How Fluoride Protects Teeth

Tooth decay begins when the bacteria and sugars present in the mouth form acids that erode the tooth’s protective enamel. These acids cause essential minerals to be lost from the tooth’s enamel layer in a process called demineralization. Over time, this ongoing attack on the tooth’s enamel will lead to the formation of a hole or cavity in the tooth.

Fluoride works to strengthen the teeth through a process called remineralization by bonding to the weakened areas of tooth enamel. Kids who get adequate fluoride while their teeth are still forming will develop permanent teeth that are stronger and more decay-resistant over a lifetime. One of the most remarkable things about fluoride is that it can even help repair small cavities that are just beginning to form.

Making Fluoride Available to the Teeth

 Correct amount of toothpaste for children.

Fluoride works to strengthen the teeth through a process called remineralization by bonding to the weakened areas of tooth enamel. Kids who get adequate fluoride while their teeth are still forming will develop permanent teeth that are stronger and more decay-resistant over a lifetime. One of the most remarkable things about fluoride is that it can even help repair small cavities that are just beginning to form.

When fluoride is ingested by drinking fluoridated water, it can reach teeth both topically and systemically. Once fluoride is swallowed, it travels through the body to become incorporated into developing teeth. It also remains in the mouth for an extended period once ingested, in a low concentration. Fluoridated toothpaste and other dental care products with fluoride like mouth rinses provide higher concentrations of fluoride over shorter periods of time.

What Our Shakopee Family Dentist Recommends

We recommend using just a pea-sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste for children between the ages of two and six and only a tiny smear for kids under two. Fluoride should never be used on children younger than six months.

For kids who don’t get enough fluoride, we can apply this vital mineral directly onto clean teeth and let it sit for a few minutes for maximum effectiveness.

How Much Fluoride Do Kids Need?

Kids who get too much fluoride while their permanent teeth are developing can develop fluorosis, which is a condition that causes the development of white or brown discoloration or spots on the teeth. The good news is that fluorosis is a cosmetic issue and not a disease. However, since it causes unsightly blemishes on the teeth, it may eventually require cosmetic dentistry treatment.

By the time the permanent teeth are completely developed and in place by around the age of nine, the risk for fluorosis ends. Until your child reaches that age, we can determine how much fluoride he/she needs and in what form. We make this determination based on all the sources of fluoride your child comes into contact with, how much sugar your child consumes, and his or her general risk for tooth decay.

While it’s important to monitor how much fluoride your child consumes, there’s no denying the many benefits this important mineral can provide to your child’s teeth and his or her overall health!

H2: Contact Arhart Dental

If you have any questions about fluoride and how it benefits your child’s teeth, please feel free to contact us, and we’ll help! At Arhart Dental, we strive to provide your family with all the dental treatments you need including routine teeth cleanings and root canals for saving damaged teeth in Shakopee. If it’s time to visit Dr. Arhart, please request an appointment, and we’ll get back to you promptly to help you choose a time that’s convenient for you!

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