We have all received the benefit that fluoride offers in preventing tooth decay. The following facts will provide you with information to assure that your child's teeth receive the optimum amount of fluoride.
Fluoride strengthens the outer layer of enamel, making teeth more resistant to the acid attack of decay-causing bacteria. It can be of benefit not only when the teeth are forming, but also after they have erupted (come in).
Primary (baby) teeth begin to develop at six weeks during pregnancy. Fluoride supplements for mom during her pregnancy do not benefit baby's developing teeth. Only tiny amounts of fluoride are found in breast milk.
Well water may contain large amounts of fluoride. Before giving your child fluoride supplements, have your well water tested for fluoride content. Fluoride sticks to the sides of glass containers. Use a plastic container for an accurate test result.
Bottled water may also contain significant amounts of fluoride. The amount of fluoride will vary with the season of the year, the water table, and the plant from which the water was obtained.
Juices, tea, and soft drinks may contain fluoride. White grape juice has the highest concentration of fluoride. Fish and chicken baby food may also provide fluoride.
Do not assume that your home water filter system removes all fluoride. The age of the system and the filter may have a significant effect on your fluoride level. Have your water tested before giving your child a fluoride supplement.
Do not use fluoridated toothpaste before two years of age. Dispense only a dab the size of a match head for children under five. Children's toothpaste has the same amount of fluoride as the adult brands.
If your home water supply is not fluoridated, the water at school, daycare, or the caregiver's home may be optimally fluoridated.
Your physician or pediatric dentist may prescribe a fluoride supplement. Once the chewable tablet is begun, fluoride and vitamins should be taken separately. Vitamins work best with food, and fluoride is best absorbed from an empty stomach. Fluoride tablets should be taken at bedtime after the teeth are brushed. Chew, swish, and swallow.
There are many sources of fluoride other than your home water supply. When considering a fluoride supplement for your child, remember your fluoride facts!