Why shouldn’t you give your toddlers fluoride? Some say they don’t really need it. Babies don’t have teeth. Fluoride helps strengthen teeth by bonding with the other minerals in them. So there’s not much it can do to help your child’s oral health. But is fluoride necessarily bad for your toddlers?
This renewed interest in the benefits of fluoride came from the American Dental Association’s (ADA) decision to change the guidelines on introducing fluoride to children. Initially, the ADA suggested waiting until the child was two years of age before introducing fluoride toothpaste to their routine. Some time ago, however, it changed its recommendation to using a bit of fluoride toothpaste once the child began to show teeth.
Surely, then, fluoride must be safe enough for toddlers for the ADA to lower the age of exposure. If fluoride is bad for toddlers, it would’ve been better to stave them off fluoride altogether. That said, why should you give your toddlers fluoride? Here are some reasons:
Fluoride prevents early emergence of cavities
Among young children, cavities are one of the most common illnesses. We’ve noted in a previous article that these caries outrank asthma when it comes to childhood chronic diseases. In recent years, these incidences have begun to increase among pre-school children. And among these schoolchildren, some of them required general anesthesia to clear up the cavities in their milk teeth.
Preventing these problems from worsening or occurring then becomes a priority. Introducing fluoride earlier might provide the needed prevention.
There is, however, still the risk that comes with too much fluoride exposure. Dental fluorosis happens when you take in too much fluoride. The affected teeth become disfigured due to hyper-mineralization. Parents are then encouraged to teach their kids to spit the toothpaste out after application.
Fluoride wards off future dental problems
Toddlers lacking the proper amount of fluoride in their system are usually at a higher risk of tooth decay. This risk also predisposes them to other oral issues aside from cavities. These problems include a slew of periodontal diseases and pulp infections.
Dental diseases usually develop by way of plaque buildup. If left untreated, it can cave in certain areas of your teeth and create pockets within your gums. By binding to other teeth minerals, then, fluoride makes it harder for the bacteria in plaque buildup to penetrate your youngster’s teeth and gums.
Introducing them to fluoride early gives your toddler a needed head start. If you protect their teeth from the onset, this reduces the amount of plaque they’ll accumulate throughout their childhood. Because they accumulate less plaque, they’re less susceptible to tooth decay. It makes them less vulnerable to cavities and other oral diseases. And if they learn how to spit out their toothpaste after brushing their teeth, they’re also less likely to contract fluorosis.
Of course, one shouldn’t rely on fluoride alone. There are other things to consider, like how many times your toddlers brush their teeth or whether they eat tooth-friendly food. Regardless, it’s good to know that fluoride isn’t harmful to your toddlers. It gives them the push they need against cavities.