The need for fluoride in a child should be determined by your dentist based on the child's particular age and risk of tooth decay. Here, our children's dentist explains more.
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in soil, water and various foods. It also has positive effects on oral health by making teeth more resistant to decay.
But too much fluoride during childhood can contribute to dental fluorosis, a condition that causes small white specks to appear on a child’s teeth due to ingesting too much fluoride.
To avoid this, 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
For children from birth to 3 years, fluoride is generally not recommended unless they are at risk of decay.
If your dentist recommends fluoride treatment for your child, they may suggest an in-office treatment at your dental office. They may also recommend you introduce a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste into your brushing routine at home.
If your child is not at risk, their teeth should only be brushed with water.
Children 3 to 6
Children from 3 to 6 years, can begin to use small amount of fluoridated toothpaste, unless otherwise recommended by your dentist.
Just be sure to closely monitor them to make sure the right amount of toothpaste is used, and that they spit it out instead of swallow to prevent dental fluorosis.
Overall, fluoride can be a safe and effective treatment option for children when used at the right age and with the right amount.