The Science of Fluoride
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in our soil, water and food items. How exactly does fluoride prevent tooth decay? Topically, low levels of fluoride in plaque and saliva inhibit the decay of sound tooth structure and enhance the strengthening of decayed tooth structure. Fluoride also works by preventing the growth of the bacteria responsible for causing cavities.
We encourage parents to start brushing their child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste typically when the child can spit (usually around 3 to 3.5 years of age). Dr. Perusini may inform parents to introduce fluoride toothpaste earlier depending on the child’s cavities risk. We appreciate that parents may feel anxious about this because the younger child could swallow the fluoride toothpaste. For this reason, children who cannot spit predictably should use a smaller volume of fluoride toothpaste (rice grain amount), which is safe even if it is swallowed. For those who can spit (including adults), a pea sized volume is sufficient.
Dr. Perusini and the staff at Avenue PD will take the time to answer your questions about fluoride as part of an overall strategy for good oral hygiene and cavity prevention.