Fluoride 101

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in nature that has been known for its enamel-strengthening and protection properties. In fact, many communities have incorporated water fluoridation into their tap water supply due to its proven effectiveness. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), water fluoridation has reduced tooth decay by 25%! Thus, it follows that most dentists recommend fluoride varnish for kids with developing teeth for extra protection and added enamel strength.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Is it safe?

Yes. For over seventy years, fluoride use has been studied and proven safe with the proper use and dosage. Some people in the alternative medicine community have expressed concern about the effects of fluoride on your body but claims that it causes health problems are predominantly unfounded. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have reported that recent studies have not found significant evidence pointing to fluoride use as a health risk.

  1. Is it possible to absorb too much?

Yes. A condition called dental fluorosis can develop if the teeth have been exposed to an excessive amount of fluoride. Dental fluorosis is relatively harmless, and the symptoms generally involve a change in the appearance of the teeth.

Fluorosis can actually make the teeth more resistant to caries and the condition itself doesn’t affect tooth function. It is most common in kids under the age of eight, and it only occurs when the teeth are still developing.

  1. Is all drinking water in the U.S. fluoridated?

No. According the ADA only 75% of the United States has fluoridated water. To find out if your community has fluoridated water, click here.

Water fluoridation has been highly regarded by The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as “one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.”

  1. How often should my child be getting topical fluoride applications from the dentist?

Topical fluoride applications are usually given 2-4 times per year, depending on the child’s risk for developing cavities. Depending on your child’s particular case, their pediatric dentist may recommend taking fluoride supplements in conjunction with toothpaste for extra cavity protection.

  1. How does it protect teeth?

Fluoride works together with phosphates and calcium to build a strong defense against the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

  1. How much fluoridated toothpaste does my child need?

The amount of toothpaste that should be used varies on the age of the child. For kids 3 and under, a small amount equal to the size of a grain of rice is sufficient enough to clean and protect their teeth. From the ages of 4 and up, the amount of toothpaste used should be roughly the size of a pea.

Making time to see the dentist every six months is crucial in order to fight caries! Advanced Children’s Dentistry is a pediatric dental office in Garden City, NY that provides a fun and educational dental experience for kids of all healthcare needs. Schedule your child’s pediatric dental appointment at 516-758-KIDS.


Centers for Disease Control

American Dental Association

American Cancer Society


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