About Fluoride

At Pediatric Dentistry Kahala, we provide children living in and around Honolulu with exceptional pediatric dental care in our comfortable and fun environment. Our dentist, Dr. Hirai, always stresses preventative dental care, as issues like cavities and tooth decay are completely avoidable in a child’s younger years. We offer preventative treatments, like dental sealants and fluoride supplements to help our patients avoid all the negative consequences that come with tooth decay.

What is Fluoride?

baby brushing teeth

Fluoride is a natural mineral that has been proven effective in preventing tooth decay. That’s why fluoride is commonly added to community water supplies, as well as to many oral hygiene products like toothpastes, mouthwashes, and oral gels.

While fluoride is a key part of any good oral care routine, the over-consumption of fluoride can result in a common condition known as fluorosis. While fluorosis does not affect the health of teeth, it does cause faint white lines or streaks on the teeth. This condition only occurs when young children consume too much fluoride while their teeth are developing under the gums.

How Does Fluoride Help Fight Tooth Decay?

Fluoride fights tooth decay in two different ways. It helps prevent mineral loss from tooth enamel and promotes the remineralization of the enamel on teeth.

When carbohydrates (sugars) are eaten, the natural bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars to produce harmful acids. These acids attack tooth enamel and especially in children who take certain medications or produce less saliva than normal. As these powerful acids repeatedly attack the protective enamel on teeth, the enamel begins to weaken and break down, resulting in tooth decay.

Fluoride is very effective at fighting tooth decay when it becomes a part of a good oral hygiene routine. Children can avoid getting tooth decay by:

  • Eating fewer foods high in carbohydrates like cookies & cakes
  • Brushing & flossing regularly with an ADA-approved toothpaste
  • Visiting Dr. Hirai twice a year for regular checkups
  • Drinking fluoridated water 

How Much Fluoride Do Children Need?

Since fluoride is present in most community water supplies and toothpastes, it’s important that children don’t ingest too much. The ADA recommends that only a tiny smear of fluoridated toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice), be used when brushing the teeth of kids under the age of two. For children between two and five years of age, a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste is the right amount to use.

When buying fluoride toothpaste, look for the ADA stamp of approval to make sure it’s safe to use. Also, remind your children not to swallow toothpaste after brushing, but to spit it out instead.

Should My Child Take Fluoride Supplements?

When you visit our office, Dr. Hiari will ask you a few questions to help determine how much fluoride your child is receiving. If he decides that your child could benefit from more fluoride, he may recommend fluoride supplements.

Contact Your Local Honolulu Pediatric Dentist

At Pediatric Dentistry Kahala, we want all our patients to enjoy the many benefits that come with having healthy and beautiful smiles! If you have any questions about fluoride or wish to schedule an appointment with us, please contact us at (808) 737-0076.  We can’t wait to see your smiling faces soon!