What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in water. The amount of fluoride in the water varies from area to area.
Why do children need fluoride?
Fluoride is an important mineral for all children. Bacteria in the mouth combine with sugars and produce acid that can harm tooth enamel and damage teeth. Fluoride protects teeth from acid and helps reverse early signs of decay. Make sure your children are brushing with toothpaste that has fluoride in it.
When should my child start using fluoride toothpaste?
The AAP and the ADA recommend using a “smear” of toothpaste on children once the first tooth appears and until your child is 3. Once your child has turned 3, a pea-sized amount can be used.
When should i get fluoride treatment done for my child?
Once your child has a tooth, your doctor may recommend that your child receive fluoride varnish treatments in the dentist’s office to help prevent tooth decay. This can be done 2 to 4 times per year. The number of treatments depends on how likely it is that your child may get a cavity.
How is Fluoride Varnish Put on the Teeth?
Fluoride varnish is painted on the top and sides of each tooth with a small brush. It is sticky but hardens once it comes in contact with saliva. Your child may feel the hardened varnish with his tongue but will not be able to lick the varnish off.
It does not hurt when the varnish is applied. However, young children may still cry before or during the procedure. Fortunately, brushing on the varnish takes only a few minutes. Also, applying the varnish may be easier when a child is crying because his mouth will be slightly open.
You may be asked to hold your child in your lap while you are placed knee-to-knee with the person applying the varnish.
How Do I Care for My Child’s Teeth After Fluoride Varnish is Applied?
Your child can eat and drink right after the fluoride varnish is applied. But only give your child soft foods and cold or warm (not hot) foods or liquids.
Do not brush or floss teeth for at least 4 to 6 hours. Your child’s doctor may tell you to wait until the next morning to brush or floss. Remind your child to spit when rinsing, if he knows how to spit.
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