If you have a child and are trying to embark on a lifetime of healthy habits, there’s no doubt tooth brushing is at the top of the list. When choosing your child’s toothpaste, it’s important to find one that contains fluoride. What is this “mystery mineral”? Well, we’ll unpack the mystery here!

1. Fluoride is a mineral that helps to strengthen teeth

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs in small amounts naturally in water. However, the amount which occurs naturally is at too small of a level to help reduce tooth decay.

2. In the United States, fluoride has been added to community water supplies since 1945.

The first city to add fluoride to its water was Grand Rapids, MI. They noticed that tooth decay decreased 60% after this addition. Not only did this revolutionize the dental profession, but it helped people realize that dental decay was a preventable disease.

3. Studies show that children who live in areas with fluoridated water have fewer cavities than those who do not.

According to the CDC, drinking water that has been fluoridated helps to reduce tooth decay by up to 25% in both children and adults. Although simply drinking fluoridated water isn’t enough to fully prevent cavities, it has been found to help families save money AND teeth. When combined with proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, the rate of dental decay is significantly reduced.

4. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay.

Fluoride helps to prevent cavities by remineralizing tooth enamel. This is because fluoride can penetrate the outer layer of teeth called enamel making it harder for bacteria to form plaque which causes cavities. Fluoride also strengthens tooth enamel preventing demineralization or decay from happening on the surface of the teeth.

5. The American Dental Association recommends using toothpaste containing fluoride for children 2 years of age and older.

Not all toothpastes are regulated by the FDA, and each brand can contain different ingredients. Although they are not required to do so, many companies voluntarily disclose what is in their product. The ADA (American Dental Association) does recommend that people brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. According to the ADA, children 2 years and older should use a “pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.” This means half of a rice-sized amount.

The ADA also recommends that parents supervise children under age 6 when brushing.

When choosing your child’s toothpaste, look for the ADA Seal. This shows that the toothpaste has been approved by the ADA. It also means that it contains fluoride and cleans effectively without causing harm to teeth or gums.

6. We’re here to help.

If you have any questions about your child’s dental health, Hanson Dental is here to help. Our dentists are experienced in helping families establish healthy dental habits and can provide guidance on choosing the right toothpaste for your child, as well as provide a blueprint for a lifetime of oral health.

We hope this article has helped to clear up some of the mystery around fluoride. If you need to make an appointment, please call us at 763-682-9796.

Image credit: Besiki Kavtaradze / iStock/ Getty Images Plus.