Can Fluoride Help Children Prevent Cavities?

It can be found in a large number of different dental hygiene products, and has been lauded for decades concerning its ability to protect teeth. Nevertheless, you may still wonder, can fluoride really help your children avoid cavities? It can, though only as part of a comprehensive dental hygiene routine. The secret lies in how fluoride bonds to the enamel around your child’s teeth, which is the first line of defense against the plaque that leads to tooth decay.

The Science of Cavity Prevention

To prevent a cavity from forming, you have to prevent the tooth decay that causes it, which occurs when bacteria are allowed to reach a tooth’s main structure. The barrier that normally stops bacteria, known as tooth enamel, is most effective when it is strong. However, it is constantly under attack from acids that come from food, or that are metabolized from sugar by oral bacteria. While brushing and flossing help control acid and bacteria (which contribute to plaque formation), you can help your child better prevent cavities by strengthening enamel with fluoride.

How Fluoride Helps

Tooth enamel is made mainly of mineral crystals formed from calcium and phosphate. As a mineral itself, fluoride is able to bond to the surface of weakened enamel before the outer layer of your children’s teeth is compromised. For best results, however, be sure your children carefully brush and floss their teeth at least twice every day, and restrict the amount of candy and other sugar-rich sources that they consume.

Where to Find Fluoride

You can find fluoride in most toothpaste brands, and should be sure that your toothpaste contains it, but if we detect weak enamel during your child’s visit, we may recommend a topical fluoride treatment at our office. As an adult, fluoride toothpaste and treatments can also help strengthen your own enamel, and help you lead by example in teaching your children how to protect their smiles.

ABOUT YOUR SOUTHLAKE CHILDREN’S DENTISTS:

As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.