Benefits of Fluoride Treatments for Kids

Preventative dental care can help your child maintain strong, healthy teeth that last a lifetime by preventing problems from occurring in the first place and identifying issues early when they do occur. Preventive care is comprised of things you do at home – such as brushing and flossing – and things your dentist does, including periodic cleanings, x-rays, examinations, and fluoride treatments for kids and teens.

What are fluoride treatments?

The sugars and bacteria in your child’s mouth contribute to demineralization (the loss of minerals) and eventually cavities. In addition to good oral hygiene, which removes plaque from the teeth before it can cause damage, it’s important to replace lost calcium, fluoride, and phosphate periodically through a process called remineralization.

Fluoride treatments are one way to remineralize the baby teeth. Because fluoride helps the make your child’s teeth resistant to sugars and bacteria, it can prevent tooth decay. It can also help build strong permanent teeth and even reverse decay when intervention is started early.

Are fluoride treatments safe for kids?

Fluoride treatments are safe for kids. Like most minerals, too much or too little fluoride can cause problems; consulting with a pediatric dentist ensures your child receives the right amount of fluoride to protect their teeth.

Different Types of Fluoride treatments

There are several ways you can help your child get the fluoride they need:

  • by choosing fluoridated tap water over bottled water for baby bottles and drinking water
  • by choosing toothpastes that are ADA-approved and that contain fluoride when your child is old enough to spit out the toothpaste rather than swallow it
  • by encouraging him or her to use over-the-counter mouthwash, which contains low levels of fluoride, or prescription mouthwash from your pediatric dentist if at high risk of caries
  • systemically through prescription fluoride liquids or tablets (when fluoride isn’t present in drinking water)
  • through the application of prescription-strength fluoride during their routine, preventative dental visits

Your pediatric dentist will likely have several kinds of topical fluoride to choose from: a foam, a gel, or a varnish. All are applied similarly: either in a mouth tray, which your child will wear for several minutes, or “painted” on with a brush. Topical fluoride is considered preventative for the purposes of dental insurance, which means many dental insurance companies cover the full cost.

Benefits of Fluoride Treatments for Kids

Fluoride is very important for children. Paired with good dental hygiene and routine dental care, it strengthens their developing permanent teeth, prevents cavities from developing, and reverses early decay through the process of remineralization.