Fluoride is a natural element that has been shown beneficial to both forming teeth as well as existing teeth. Fluoride helps strengthen teeth, reduce the oral bacteria’s ability to form a cavity, and in sufficient quantities can re-mineralize teeth more quickly responding following an acid attack.
Though fluoride has many beneficial roles in preventing cavities in too high of concentrations in can cause detrimental effects to developing teeth. Often parents are unaware of a child’s potential sources of fluoride.
Some possible sources are:
- Excessive fluoridated toothpaste at a young age
- Inappropriate use of fluoride supplements
- Hidden fluoride in your child’s diet
Children less than three cannot be expected to spit out excessive fluoride toothpaste. As a result, they can ingest more than the recommended amount of fluoride during a routine tooth brushing. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using no more than a ‘rice grain’ sized amount of toothpaste for children less than three and no more than a ‘pea-sized’ amount for children three to six.
Fluoride supplements have many beneficial effects on developing teeth but when used excessively or inappropriately they can contribute to fluorosis. Fluoride supplements are only recommended when all other sources of fluoride have been accounted for.
Many foods contain high levels of fluoride. Powdered infant formulas, infant dry cereals, and some infant foods contain fluoride. Please read the labels of all food products to obtain amounts. Beverages such as tee, grape juice, and many other drinks reconstituted from fluoridated water sources can also contain fluoride.