You have probably heard that fluoride is good for you, but do you know what a fluoride treatment is? Here, we’ll explain what fluoride is, what a fluoride treatment is, and what the benefits are of fluoride treatments for kids.
What Is fluoride?
A naturally occurring mineral, fluoride can be found in many places including food, water, and even the earth’s crust. Fluoride’s main contribution to oral health is that it is essential to preventing tooth decay, especially in young children while their adult teeth are developing. In the 1930s, researchers discovered that children who grew up drinking water with fluoride in it experienced much less tooth decay than those who did not. Because of this study, the federal government started adding fluoride to public drinking water.
What Is a Fluoride Treatment?
While it can be given to anyone, a fluoride treatment is a dental service that is most often done to children as their teeth are developing, particularly kids who have already had a history of cavities. During the treatment, fluoride is applied to teeth in the form of a gel, foam, or varnish that is painted on or that is squeezed into a mold and then placed in the mouth over the teeth for about one to four minutes. After the treatment, you won’t be able to eat or drink for 30 minutes in order to let the fluoride really sink into your gums and teeth.
What Are the Benefits of Fluoride Treatments for Kids?
Fluoride is important for children because it prevents cavities. It is absorbed into the tooth’s enamel by hardening on children’s developing teeth before they emerge and also by hardening on the enamel of adult teeth that have already emerged. As your child eats, the bacteria in their mouth turn food into acids that attack and weaken the enamel, the hard layer on their teeth that is the first line of defense against decay. This process is called demineralization. Fluoride helps to prevent the weakening of enamel through remineralization by replenishing phosphorus and calcium in your child’s mouth. These two minerals strengthen your child’s teeth and enamel and therefore make them more resistant to cavities.
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