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Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound in the earth and found in groundwater. Fluorine is element number nine in the periodic table of elements and has been added to the water supply in the US since the 1950s.

Since then, fluoride has been a valuable asset in the fight against tooth decay and gum disease over multiple decades. It has been scientifically proven to be safe and effective. It strengthens tooth enamel, the outer layer that defends against bacteria and decay. While it is universally beneficial for all ages, children should not be given as much as adults.

Too much fluoride in children may lead to fluorosis. While not harmful to the child’s overall dental health, it is problematic for appearance as it gives the teeth splotchy patches of chalky white discoloration.

For children between the ages of 3-6 years, a pea-sized dab of toothpaste containing fluoride on the toothbrush will deliver the right amount. Under three, an even smaller drop (by half) will suffice.

So, should you be concerned about the topical fluoride treatments that are given to your child at their regular dentist check-ups? Not at all. These direct applications of fluoride are important after thorough cleanings and help the tooth better assimilate the fluoride. If these topical fluoride treatments are not done, your child’s teeth are actually more susceptible to decay following dental cleanings.

If you’re concerned about your child’s consumption of fluoride, Dr. Laurin Cardwell would be happy to resolve your concerns. Please contact Cardwell Family Dentistry to make an appointment at: 828-631-3567, or come by our office in Sylva, North Carolina.