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General Dentistry

Should I Say Yes to Topical Fluoride Treatment for My Kids?

September 28, 2021

Yes! When at the end of a check-up and cleaning when you go to the dentist you may be asked, “Would you like us to apply topical fluoride?” Your answer to this question should be yes! And here is why:

Children Fluoride

What is topical fluoride treatment?

Topical fluoride treatment is a sticky preventative agent that is applied to tooth enamel after a professional cleaning. Fluoride strengthens teeth and helps you prevent many possible oral issues. The fluoride treatment is painted onto your teeth by a dental professional. It is often recommended that you wait a few hours before you drink hot beverages or brush your teeth so that the fluoride treatment has a chance to strengthen and protect your teeth! 

Fluoride treatment for Children

Fluoride treatment is important for both children and adults because it is a preventative treatment that protects tooth enamel. For kids, fluoride is especially important because it helps with proper tooth development. Getting enough fluoride in childhood is essential for strengthening teeth to last a lifetime. It is recommended that children get two to four fluoride treatments a year, but of course, it all depends on your child’s overall oral health and how susceptible their teeth are to developing cavities. If the frequent development of cavities is a prominent trait in your family, ensuring your children receive fluoride treatments may be all the more important!

Children Dentist

What if my Child Swallows Fluoride?

Small bits of fluoride will likely be swallowed by children, especially when they are first learning to brush their teeth. When brushing the teeth of young children, try to limit how much toothpaste they swallow. This could mean putting less toothpaste on a young child’s toothbrush (a pea-sized amount smeared into the bristles is a nice guideline) and then teaching them to rinse and spit as they get older. 

Children who swallow toothpaste consistently over long periods are at an increased risk of mild fluorosis. Mild fluorosis does not harm your teeth or health but is a cosmetic issue that causes faint white lines to appear on the teeth. Mild fluorosis isn’t a concern for most people because they won’t consume enough fluoride to experience fluorosis, but it is good to be aware of. If you have any questions or concerns, schedule an appointment with Apple Tree Dental or check with your pediatrician for toothpaste recommendations. 

Swallowing topical fluoride treatment from the dentist should not be a worry! After applied, the child can eat and drink regularly. The fluoride treatment sticks to the teeth to protect them and will slowly wear off when their teeth are brushed.