When will my child need fluoride?

Emergent teeth can benefit from a little fluoride. This mineral prevents cavities because it strengthens the enamel and makes it more resistant to harmful acids and bacteria. Your child can get fluoride through toothpaste and water. Also, your dentist may apply a fluoride gel or varnish to your teeth.

Most municipal waters in the United States already contain fluoride (call your local water district or talk to your dentist to find out how the water you live in is treated). If your local water is not fortified with fluoride or if you get water from a well, consider purchasing a special water testing kit from your health department, a hardware store or a pharmacy.

If the results show a fluoride content of less than .3 parts per million, ask your pediatrician if you should give your child a fluoride supplement. You can get a prescription of fluoride drops or chewable tablets.

Bottled water and fruit juices also contain fluoride, although the amount is often not indicated on the label.

Note that although some fluoride is good for your child’s teeth, excessive drinking can lead to fluorosis time, a condition that causes the appearance of white spots on adult teeth. That’s why it’s important not to use too much toothpaste, especially before your child learns to rinse his mouth and spit.

Are there certain foods that can contribute to cavities?

Yes. Sweet foods (including fresh fruit, dried fruit, juices, and foods like sandwiches of peanut butter and jam) and foods with high starch content (such as breads, crackers, pasta and pretzels) can contribute to the appearance of cavities.

It is recommended that you serve these foods to your child during meals. And if you give them as snacks, they will stay longer on your teeth and increase the chances of them causing cavities. Serving them with water also helps.

When should I take my child to the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that you take your child to see the dentist within the next 6 months, after his first toothbrush comes or when he is in his first year, whichever comes first two options.