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Regular Fluoride Treatments Are Important for Kids as Well as Adults

Regular Fluoride Treatments Are Important for Kids as Well as Adults

Was yours bubblegum or grape? The flavor of fluoride covering your teeth when you were a kid is a lasting memory for most people. But if you’re like most people, you dutifully got the treatment because your dentist said it would prevent cavities, and that’s about as far as your knowledge or interest went.

But now that you’re a grown-up and have kids of your own, you want to know more about what fluoride is and why it’s important. And if it’s important for your kids’ teeth, do you need to step up your fluoride game as well?

At Today’s Dentistry in San Jose, California, we get these questions a lot. That’s why Dr. Peter Lee and our team have put together this brief guide to give you the 411 on fluoride. Here are the answers to the questions we hear most often about fluoride.

What is fluoride?

Like many minerals, fluoride is part of the composition of rocks, soil, plants, water, and even air. It’s also a main component in your bones and teeth, and helps keep the enamel on your teeth hard. This is important because your enamel acts as a protective barrier between outside bacteria and the inside of your teeth. When bacteria break the barrier, a cavity forms. 

Where do we get fluoride?

Humans get fluoride in small amounts from their diet, but it typically isn’t enough to make much of a difference in the fight against cavities. To really strengthen your enamel, you need to get fluoride from more than just the foods and beverages you eat and drink.

Recognizing this problem, more than 75% of communities in the United States add fluoride to their public water systems, a process called fluoridation. San Jose’s water is fluoridated, so if you’re using the public water system, chances are good that you and your family are getting a decent supply of extra fluoride.

However, if you’re not on the public system, or you don’t drink the water, it’s important to get your fluoride treatments at your regular check-up appointments

Who needs fluoride?

Everyone needs fluoride. Even before your kid’s teeth pop through the gums, fluoride is at work strengthening the enamel and fighting off tooth decay from within.

As the teeth erupt and are exposed to bacteria all day, every day, fluoride in your child’s food and drink mixes with saliva, washes over their teeth, and bathes the enamel in a topical fluoride treatment that helps remineralize the enamel and repair any minor breaches.

As long as you have teeth, you need fluoride, which means that adults don’t get a pass. And since the amount of fluoride in your diet doesn’t do the job adequately in most cases, the best way to get fluoride is in the dentist's chair.

What about products that contain fluoride?

There are many dental products at your local drug store that contain fluoride, and in most cases, we highly recommend them. Fluoridated toothpastes are an excellent way to give your enamel a helping hand. 

As part of the celebration surrounding your child’s first tooth, begin good habits by brushing that tiny tooth with a soft-bristled brush and a rice-sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste. Once they reach age 3 and are sporting a few more chompers, you can increase the amount of fluoridated toothpaste to the size of a pea. 

You and your teens should also be brushing regularly with a fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. And you may also use a fluoridated mouthwash to increase the protection level. 

When you come in for your regular cleanings and check-ups, we can let you know if you need a fluoride treatment or not. At Today’s Dentistry, we are all about prevention, so if your enamel looks like it could use a little more fluoride, you can get it here, no matter what your age.

To schedule an appointment for you or your child, give us a call at Today’s Dentistry at 408-412-3820 today. 

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