Most parents know children’s oral health basics. Brush regularly, limit snacking, reduce sugar intake and get adequate amounts of Vitamin D and calcium. Dentists recommend three additional tools for preventing cavities in toddlers and children.
• Fluoride Supplements
• Oral Rinses
Resin dental sealants are applied by your dentist or hygienist. The material bonds to the biting surfaces of the back teeth, protecting the pits and fissures from decay. As long as the sealant remains intact, the sealed surface will be protected from decay. Some dental insurance providers cover dental sealants, so check with your provider if you are planning to get them for your kids.
Fluoride helps to make teeth stronger and to protect them from decay. It is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources. Children who drink tap water that has the recommended levels of fluoride are less likely to get cavities than children who do not drink fluoridated water. Talk to your dentist about your child’s fluoride needs. Be sure to tell your child’s dentist if you use bottled water or a water treatment system at home. If you live in an area where the tap water does not contain the recommended levels of fluoride, your dentist or physician may prescribe fluoride supplements for your child. In areas that have the right amounts of fluoride in the tap water, children should not take fluoride supplements.
If your child is taking fluoride supplements, is an oral rinse redundant? Actually, no. Fluoride supplements help strengthen teeth that are still forming, but a fluoride rinse helps teeth that have already come in. Our office recommends children use an oral rinse after they brush and floss at night. They are most effective when they are the last substance on teeth before kids go to bed.