You always see and hear the word fluoride. But have you ever wondered what it is and why is it so important? Or better yet, is fluoride safe?
The truth is that by constantly exposing your teeth to a modest amount of fluoride, you help strengthen the tooth’s enamel layer and protect your teeth against tooth decay. Most people (like teens and adults) do not need to worry about the amount of fluoride in the tap water, toothpaste or the mouthwash. On the other hand, infants and young children don’t have teeth that have yet fully emerged from their gums. So if they are overexposed to fluoride, they can develop a condition known as enamel fluorosis. Fluorosis is visible as thin lines and streaks on the tooth enamel.
Children and fluoride
In most cases, infants are over-exposed to fluoride by being fed powdered infant formula that is mixed with fluoridated water in the first year of their life. This happens especially if this mix is the infant’s primary source of food. The results of this could end up being a mild case of enamel fluorosis that is barely noticeable. If the water used for the powdered infant formula is fluoridated, but the child is fed with this occasional, then the risk is lowered by 99 percent. You need to talk with a professional doctor, dentist or a pediatrician if you have concerns about what you can feed your baby. Breast milk has a very low level of fluoride, even though mothers who breastfeed are drinking fluoridated water and uses fluoride products every day. That is why mothers should not be worried about their child, and they must not neglect their teeth and gums, especially after giving birth.
Enamel fluorosis does not affect the overall function of the teeth, just their appearance. Your can help your child avoid developing such a condition by choosing dental health products that do not contain fluoride. The moment the last tooth has emerged from his/her gums you can rest because they are no longer at risk.
Fluoride is not meant to be swallowed. That is why dentists recommend children to avoid fluoride toothpaste. This is because their reflexes are not yet fully developed, and they could keep eating it.
The products that contain fluoride are good for your teeth and help you have a beautiful smile and a healthy set of teeth and gums.