What is Fluoride anyway?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral.
It is usually found in soil, in various foods and in water.
As is the case with most minerals, in the right doses, fluoride is perfectly safe for most people to consume. Actually, it’s good for us.
In fact, fluoride has such obvious and widely accepted health benefits (particularly when it comes to dental health and hygiene) that it is even put into our tap water here in Vancouver and indeed throughout North America as a public health initiative.
Enriching tap water with fluoride is a practice that has been in place for a long time, and there is mounting evidence which points to a direct improvement in oral health and a decrease in the number of cavities and teeth affected by decay.
Similarly, most commonly used toothpastes today also contain fluoride.
Not only can fluoride stop the advancement of decay and thus prevent cavities, it can even help to reverse existing decay as well as strengthening the tooth enamel and slowing down the loss of minerals from the tooth as we age. It’s a mineral with major benefits to our dental and oral health, and here at Pier Dental Centre, we regularly advise our patients on the benefits of fluoride toothpaste.
What are the risks of fluoride toothpaste for children?
Fluoride in itself has very few proven associated risks to overall health.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that most of us are exposed to and ingest on a regular basis anyway in our day to day lives. Your child is no different.
The only known and proven dental health risk from overexposure to fluoride is a condition known as dental fluorosis.
Dental fluorosis is generally not a concern for the vast majority of people in Canada.
However, it is possible for children to be affected by an overexposure to fluoride, particularly in their early years.
At its most basic level, dental fluorosis takes the form of small white specs, which begin to appear on the surface of some or all teeth.
It is possible for adults to see signs of dental fluorosis too, but children and babies are more susceptible to it as they require smaller doses and lower exposure to the mineral in order to be affected.
Should I be worried about dental fluorosis in my children?
In short, no.
A 2009 survey called The Canadian Health Measures Survey 2007-2009 found that dental fluorosis was not present in 84% of the children they surveyed.
Of the few children that did have some level of fluoride overexposure, most would often go unnoticed by the parents or the children themselves.
For its numerous dental health benefits, Health Link BC also recommends the use of fluoride toothpaste in children as soon as their earliest teeth start to come through.
Health Link BC recommends that you start off with a piece of toothpaste the same size as a grain of rice for your teething baby, and build up to a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste as your child approaches 3 years old.
In small doses like this, the risk of any kind of dental fluorosis is kept minimal, whilst also giving your child the protection of fluoride and a great start to their preventative dental health care plan.
Should I consult a dentist?
If you want to consult with a dentist in North Vancouver to ensure that your child’s dental health care is the best it can be, then make an appointment with one of Pier Dental Centre’s specialists today.