little girl brushing teethYour child may be young, but their teeth and gums deserve optimal protection against cavities and tooth decay. While fluoride toothpaste is recommended by most dental professionals, there is a continued conversation about how much they should receive and how soon is “too soon” to begin incorporating it into their daily routine. Read on to learn whether this natural mineral is safe for young smiles and when a child should begin using fluoride to better protect their pearly whites.

Is Fluoride Safe For Young Smiles?

Yes, fluoride is safe for children as long as it is not ingested in large quantities. This natural mineral commonly found in city tap water, fruits and vegetables, and various toothpaste brands helps minimize the potential for cavity formation and strengthening tooth enamel.

But over the years, many researchers state that the use of fluoride can be more damaging to teeth than beneficial. These claims express that dental fluorosis is a real possibility and that it can harm the enamel, resulting in white spots.

The reality is that while this concern is valid and can cause cosmetic imperfections, it’s treatable. Also, it’s not common, so your little one will rarely develop a problem during early childhood.

How Important is Fluoride in Tap Water?

Even if your child is using fluoride toothpaste to clean their teeth, drinking water that contains this valuable mineral can serve to add another layer of protection.

Each time your little one consumes tap water, it helps to coat their teeth with additional fluoride, which safeguards enamel and protects against possible cavities.

When Should I Begin to Introduce Fluoride to My Child?

This is a question many dentists receive from parents, so you’re not alone in wondering how soon might be “too soon.”

By the time your child reaches the age of one, it’s recommended that they visit the dentist for their first dental checkup and cleaning. During this visit, you can expect to learn more about the status of their developing grin as well as what you can do to keep any erupted teeth healthy. This will include using an appropriate amount of fluoride toothpaste.

Typically, a smear (the size of a grain of rice) is plenty when it comes to keeping these early teeth clean and free of tooth decay. In these early years of oral development, making sure your little one receives the appropriate amount of toothpaste will ensure that they do not ingest too much fluoride, especially since spitting is something they will need to learn over time.

Ensuring your child receives fluoride from an early age will help to set them on a path to better oral health and hygiene. With close monitoring and frequent contact with their pediatric dentist, you can be sure that your little one’s smile remains in optimal shape as they grow older.

About the Author
Dr. Veronica Martinez is a trusted pediatric dentist with an office in Scottsdale and Phoenix. Also referred to as “Dr. V,” she is board-certified and committed to improving the smiles of children in the area. Earning her dental degree from Marquette University School of Dentistry, she specialized in pediatric dentistry at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She and her team at Children’s Dental Specialty work hard to keep young smiles thriving year after year, which is why she offers fluoride treatment for those who struggle with cavities. Contact us at our Phoenix or Scottsdale office to find out how we can help.

Dr. Veronica

Author Dr. Veronica

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