February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. This health observance brings together healthcare providers, dedicated professionals and educators to promote optimal oral health in children. This year’s focus is on ensuring children receive the right amount of fluoride. So, why is fluoride so important and how can you get your child enough? Fluoride is an important mineral because bacteria in the mouth combine with sugars and produce acid that can harm tooth enamel and damage teeth and it protects teeth from acid damage and helps reverse early signs of decay.
Most communities have fluoridated water, but if your community does not, check with your local water utility agency to find out if your water has fluoride in it. If it doesn’t, ask your pediatrician or dentist if your child is at HIGH risk for dental caries (also known as tooth decay or a cavity). He or she may recommend you buy fluoridated water or give you a prescription for fluoride drops or tablets for your child. Fluoride is important for your child event before they develop their teeth, but some parents may not want to use fluoridated water for infants. If you prefer not to use fluoridated water with formula, you can:
- Breastfeed your baby.
- Use bottled or purified water that has no fluoride with the formula.
- Use ready-to-feed formula that does not need water to be added.
If your child is able to safely spit out their toothpaste, you can begin using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. The toothpaste applied to your child’s toothbrush should be the size of a pea. Use this toothpaste when you brush your child’s teeth twice daily.
Medplex Pediatric Dentistry serves as a top-rated pediatric dentist for Alabaster, Birmingham, Hoover, Helena, and Pelham.