To fight tooth decay, in 1945, our government started putting put fluoride into the public water system. As of the year 2000, forty-two of the fifty biggest population centers in the United States had water fluoridation.
Because we discovered fluoride’s benefits, our proactivity has strengthened our people’s dental health. Only later did we discover what is called enamel fluorosis. For small children, especially newborns whose teeth are still forming in the gums, too much fluoride in early development causes white patches on the teeth. Besides this unfortunate cosmetic snafu, fluoride doesn’t harm the growth, strength, or health of the teeth.
Recommendations to circumvent enamel fluorosis:
-Use baby formula mix that is not combined with tap water. An alternative to this is to buy bottled water without fluoride to mix with your baby’s formula. Several over-the-counter bottled water brands do not contain fluoride.
-Pass on your body’s health benefits by breastfeeding your baby at least 6 months. This is the recommended minimum amount of time that it takes to transfer the mother’s immunities and health advantages according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
After the baby’s teeth start to emerge from the gums you are free from the danger of fluorosis. Although, the permanent teeth come in around 12 years of age. So, the American Dental Association (ADA) has further recommendations:
-At 2-years-old or younger, at the appearance of the first tooth, start brushing the tooth and gums gently with a soft toothbrush, but do not use a toothpaste that has fluoride.
-From 2-5 years of age, you may start using fluoride–but only a little. Use only a pea-sized dab and make sure they spit out the remains when finished and not swallow. You may need to supervise them at this age to ensure they do this properly. Finally, do not let them use a mouthwash with fluoride.
If you are worried about enamel fluorosis, Dr. Tontra Lowe, DDS would be happy to alleviate your concerns. Please contact Awesome Smiles Dental Center at: 571-261-2600, or come by our office in Haymarket, Virginia.