Q: What is the most cost-effective means of preventing dental decay with positive effects ranging throughout all ages?
A: Fluoridated water provides children with a systemic (swallowed) dose and topical (external application to teeth) dose that strengthens teeth that are forming and protects and hardens teeth that are already in the mouth. The constant contact of low concentrations of fluoride in the oral cavity that occurs when people drink fluoridated water has been shown to significantly reduce dental caries. According to the Florida Department of Health, Currently 76.7% of people served by community water systems receive optimally fluoridated water, reaching 69.5% of Florida's population.
Q: When can my child use a fluoride mouthrinse, or for that matter, any rinse?
A: Children under the age of 7 will tend to swallow some of the rinse even if they don’t intend to. Make sure young child can spit comfortably before beginning a rinsing regimen. If your child cannot spit out all the mouthwash, consider dipping a brush into the rinse, shaking off the excess, and then applying it to the teeth so that excessive amounts of rinse are not swallowed. Here is a suggestion for a rinsing regimen… before going to bed and after flossing and brushing rinse with a fluoride rinse, however, make sure your child does not eat anything after this.
Q: Should my child take fluoride supplements?
A: Unless your child is at high risk for caries and is not able to access fluoride via water, food, toothpaste, mouthwash and/or regular dental cleanings, ingesting supplements is not recommended.
Q: What is enamel fluorosis?
A: If a child is exposed to too much fluoride during the years of tooth development they may face a condition called enamel fluorosis. Too much fluoride can result in defects in tooth enamel resulting in white, yellow or brown spots, streaks or lines on permanent teeth.