A child's need for fluoride should be determined by your dentist based on your child's age and risk of tooth decay. Here, our Delta children's dentist explains more about children and fluoride.
The natural mineral fluoride is found in various foods as well as soil and water. Fluoride has been found to have positive effects on oral health by making teeth more resistant to tooth decay.
That said, too much fluoride during childhood can contribute to dental fluorosis. This condition causes small white specks to appear on a child’s teeth due to ingesting too much fluoride.
In order to avoid dental fluorosis, your dentist can assess your child’s risk of developing tooth decay and advise you if fluoride protection is appropriate for them.
Children 0 to 3
Fluoride is typically not recommended for children from birth to 3 years, unless they are at risk of tooth decay.
If your child's smile could benefit for fluoride treatment, your dentist may suggest an in-office treatment at your dental office. Your dentist might also recommend introducing a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste into your child's at-home oral hygiene routine.
If your child is between the ages of 0-3 years, brush their teeth using just water, unless your dentist recommends otherwise.
Children 3 to 6
Unless you've been advised otherwise by your dentist, once your child is between 3 and 6 years of age, they can begin to use small amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
To prevent dental fluorosis, closely monitor your child to make sure that the right amount of toothpaste is being used, and that they spit it out rather than swallowing.
Typically, when used at the right age and with the right amount, fluoride can be a safe and effective treatment option for your child's developing smile.