Do you know what makes teeth strong? You might think it’s the brushing, flossing, and mouthwash, but that’s only scratching the surface of the answer. What really makes the teeth strong is the protective layer of enamel on the surface of the teeth. Strong enamel is crucial to tooth health, and fluoride is one of the key minerals that you need in order to have strong enamel. So how can you and your children get the fluoride you need?
Did you know that in many places the water that comes out of your tap is fluoridated. This is because benefits such as the reduction of tooth decay that getting enough fluoride offers are widely recognized and have been for decades. Optimal levels are 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water. If your water supply is fluoridated, that means that you and your child could be getting all the fluoride you need just from drinking enough water. Nearly all of the drinking water in Snohomish County is fluoridated. Not sure if your water has fluoride? Just ask your water provider.
While the majority of the U.S. population has access to fluoridated tap water, that isn’t the case everywhere. If your water isn’t fluoridated, we may prescribe fluoride supplements for your child. These supplements can come in the form of a tablet, lozenge, or drops. When giving prescribed fluoride supplements to your child, it’s best to avoid dairy and other foods high in calcium, as they can reduce the absorption of fluoride. Having said that, we rarely need to prescribe fluoride since only pockets of rural farming areas in Snohomish County are not fluoridated.
One of the easiest ways to get fluoride, aside from simply drinking water, is from using a fluoridated toothpaste. Most toothpastes these days have the appropropriate amount of fluoride in them. When brushing your child’s teeth, only use a tiny bit for children under age three, about the size of a grain of rice. Children over three can use a small pea-sized amount. This is to help prevent them from swallowing too much toothpaste and developing fluorosis.
Getting the fluoride necessary to keep the enamel strong is an important part of making sure teeth are healthy and strong. There are multiple sources you can get fluoride from, so it’s definitely possible to get the amount needed. If you have any concerns, schedule a visit with one of our pediatric dentists so you can make sure that you and your family can reap the benefits of safely getting enough fluoride.
Too much of a good thing can still be a bad thing. Learn more about how to make sure your child is getting the right amount of fluoride, and not too much, here.