Your child's fluoride requirements should be determined by your dentist based on the child's age and risk of tooth decay. Here, our Burnaby children's dentist explains more about a child's need for fluoride.
Fluoride can be found in soil, water and various foods. It is a natural mineral that positively affects oral health by helping to make teeth more resistant to tooth decay.
That said, ingesting too much fluoride during childhood can contribute to a condition called dental fluorosis, that causes small white specks to appear on the child's teeth.
In order to avoid fluorosis, your dentist can assess your child’s risk of developing tooth decay and advise you as to whether fluoride protection is appropriate in their case.
Children 0 to 3
Typically, from birth to 3 years fluoride is not recommended unless the child is at risk of tooth decay.
In cases where the dentist feels that fluoride treatment would be beneficial for your child, they may suggest an in-office treatment at your regular dental office. Your dentist may also recommend that you introduce a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste into your child's at-home oral hygiene routine.
For children under three years of age, unless your dentist feels that your child is at risk of decay, teeth should only be brushed with water.
Children 3 to 6
Unless your dentist advises you otherwise, children from 3 to 6 years of age can begin to use small amount of fluoridated toothpaste when brushing their teeth.
Closely monitor your child to make sure that the correct amount of toothpaste is being used, and that they spit it out (instead of swallowing it) to prevent dental fluorosis.
When used at the right age and in the right amount, fluoride can be a safe and effective treatment option for children.