There is currently a debate underway regarding the appropriate levels of fluoride that are being consumed by Canadians. For those of you that are unaware, fluoride is a natural mineral that is proven to have a positive effect on oral health by making teeth more resistant to decay. It can be delivered in many ways, such as in your toothpaste and water supply, or by getting fluoride treatments from your dental provider.
Fluoride vs. Toothpatse
According to the Canadian Dental Association, fluoridated toothpastes should be used twice a day. However, there are certain guidelines that need to be followed when dealing with the application of fluoride on children’s teeth:
Children from birth to age 3 should have their teeth and gums brushed regularly by an adult. Parents should consult their dentist by their child’s first birthday to determine whether they are at risk of developing tooth decay. If such risk exists, they should be brushing their child’s teeth with a minimal amount of fluoridated toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) and encouraging them not to swallow it. If the child is not at risk, they should have their teeth brushed only using a toothbrush moistened with water.
From the ages of 3 to 6, children should be assisted by an adult while brushing their teeth. The amount of fluoridated toothpaste they should be using should be only the size of a green pea. Fluoride mouth rinsing is not recommended for children under the age of 6.
The Canadian Dental Association and our team at Destination Dentistry in Lethbridge are in acceptance of the fluoridation of municipal drinking water. Having minimal levels of fluoride in our water supply and having it regularly monitored and adjusted to avoid fluctuations is considered a safe and effective way to prevent dental caries in all members of the community. A healthy balance should be maintained to properly receive the benefits of preventing tooth decay and avoid the risk of developing dental fluorosis, a change in the appearance of teeth from higher than optimal consumption of fluoride (most noticeably appears as small white flecks on a child’s tooth).
“Provided that the daily intake of fluoride is carefully monitored, fluoride is considered to be a most important health measure in maintaining oral health for all Canadians.” CDA