It’s such a relief when your baby’s first teeth begin emerging from the gums. No more fussing, chewing or amazing amounts of drooling! With that relief comes responsibility. When those tiny pearly whites do emerge, it’s immediately time to begin practicing good dental care, and that includes regular fluoride varnish.
For the past 60-plus years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized that the fluoridation of drinking water has been the most valuable tool in fighting tooth decay and caries (cavities). Studies show that this fluoridation has reduced decay in children’s teeth by about 60%. That’s a lot of smiles kept healthy and beautiful by this natural element!
When should you start getting your child a fluoride varnish treatment?
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, begin cleaning their teeth morning and evening with a small dab of fluoride toothpaste on a soft washcloth. Because babies can’t spit out the excess and swallowing may cause an upset stomach, be sure to use a very small amount that can be wiped out of the mouth.
Make an appointment with your Alzein Pediatrics medical professional at this time to begin fluoride varnish treatments. The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends these treatments start with the first tooth eruption and continue about every 3 to 6 months until the age of 6.
What is a fluoride varnish treatment like?
Fluoride varnish treatments are simple and quick. Our professional will blot your child’s teeth dry, and then brush the varnish on all surfaces of each tooth, beginning in the back of the mouth and moving to the front. The varnish will set as your child salivates. Your child will be able to enjoy cold, soft foods and drink immediately, but will wait until the next morning to brush again.
When your child can spit, usually around the age of three, you can use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on a soft brush in the mornings and evenings. Avoid having your child rinse excessively because that removes the fluoride from their teeth.
When your child turns six, you can add an alcohol-free fluoride rinse to their dental care routine, especially if you live in a town that does not have fluoridated water. Not all municipalities in Cook County have fluoridated water, please click here to find your town.
Aside from fluoride varnish, what else can you do for your child’s dental health?
For your whole family’s good dental health, give up bottled water. There is no fluoride in bottled water and many brands have increased acid levels, actually causing tooth decay. No matter what water distributors advertise, tap water is healthier. BONUS – it’s also much less expensive and much better for the environment!
Dental caries in a baby tooth isn’t something to ignore. Your child will experience pain, swelling and chewing problems, which can lead to nutrition issues. If the tooth falls out prematurely, it can cause shifting of adult teeth, requiring braces later to repair. In some cases, your child could experience an abscess, which can be life-threatening.
Starting and continuing fluoride treatments will protect your child’s teeth from decay and caries, keep them safe from tooth loss and bone deterioration, and increase their self-confidence!
Don’t let the Tooth Fairy into your house too soon – or ask her to pick up decayed teeth! Schedule a fluoride varnish treatment for your child under the age of six by clicking here, or calling 708-424-7600. We look forward to helping to keep your child’s pearly whites healthy and protected!