Fluoride is a mineral that helps fight tooth decay. It is found in public water supplies, toothpaste, and many other dental products. Often called, “nature’s cavity fighter,” fluoride helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay can be seen. Research shows that fluoride helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making teeth more resistant to the acid attacks that cause cavities. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, use other fluoride dental products, and drink water with fluoride, you are preventing cavities and strengthening your teeth’s outer surface (enamel).
If you have a good chance of getting cavities, your dentist can apply fluoride to your teeth during your dental visit. Your dentist might also tell you to use a special fluoride rinse, paste or gel at home.
Should I brush my child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste?
- For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they start to appear in the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush your children’s teeth twice a day (morning and night) or as directed by your dentist.
- For children 3 to 6 years of age, use no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and brush teeth twice a day.
- Always supervise your child’s brushing to make sure they use the right amount of toothpaste and try and get your child to spit out most of the toothpaste.
- Look for a toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to make sure it contains fluoride and helps prevent cavities.