Fluoride And Your Teeth

Enamel the outer layer of the crown of a tooth is made of closely packed mineral crystals.

Enamel is a very important part of the tooth, it is a protective layer made up of very dense mineral crystals.  Everyday some enamel is lost due to a process called demineralization, this happens when plaque releases a acidic byproduct that harms the teeth.  Luckily your body naturally tries to fight back against demineralization and attempts to try to restore this destructive process.  This is done through minerals in the saliva, such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate, are deposited back into the enamel.

The reality is that your body probably will not be able to fully combat the effects of demineralization without some help.  Too much loss of minerals without enough replacement leads to tooth decay.  Fluoride helps in two ways.  When children drink fluoride in small doses, it enters the bloodstream and helps to build strong permanent teeth; also fluoride can strengthen teeth from the outside, when it comes into contact with the teeth.  When teeth are strengthened with fluoride, it makes it harder for the acids to erode the enamel of the teeth.

Treatments
Fluoride is all around us, it is in foods and used as a supplement in some drinking water.  This helps benefit the tooth development in people younger than 16.  Topical fluorides are also available in many dental tooth pastes or rinses.  While you are only using the fluoride for a short time, the elevated levels of fluoride levels last for hours after. When you go to the dentist professional fluoride treatments are given.  They are applied as a varnish, foam, or gel.  When the dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, it is in a much higher concentration than over-the-counter treatments. In certain cases special fluoride concentrations are prescribed to children who live in areas where fluoride is not added to the drinking water.  Normally these supplements will be given to children between the age of 6 months to 16 years old.

Supplements
Fluoride supplements should be given if your drinking water is not fluorinated.   They are available in liquids and tablets.  Your dentist or your pediatrician will need to prescribe them to you.

Is it Harmful
Fluoride is safe if it is used in safe dosages, but in heavy dosages it can be harmful, so it is important to monitor the fluoride levels if you are using it in your home.  City water is constantly monitored to maintain save fluoride levels.

Does your child need space maintainers?

One of the primary purposes of a child’s “baby teeth” is to reserve space for the adult teeth growing underneath. Typically, baby teeth fall out once the adult tooth begins pushing its way through the surface and is ready to emerge. However, in some cases, children may have a baby tooth removed early if they get it knocked out in an accident or have it removed due to dental decay. When this happens, there is a chance that the tooth underneath is not yet ready to emerge, causing a gap to be present in the tooth line.

Unfortunately, some adult teeth do not grow in until the child is 12-14 years old, and your pediatrician may be concerned about later problems with the permanent teeth that could be caused by the gap. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, when baby teeth are lost too soon, adjacent teeth may try to fill the space by tilting or drifting toward the gap. This is a problem because baby teeth often guide the permanent teeth into place, meaning a child may end up with a crowded or crooked smile once their adult teeth have emerged. To avoid this scenario, a pediatric dentist on your True Dental Discounts dental plan will likely suggest space maintainers. Space maintainers are made out of either metal or plastic and are custom-made to fit into a child’s mouth. The purpose of a space maintainer is to keep the gap left by a baby tooth open and to prevent movement of the other teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that it is much easier to correct the problem in advance with space maintainers than to fix it afterward with extensive orthodontic treatment.

Once a child’s adult tooth has successfully emerged and taken its natural place, the space maintainer is removed. Until then, it is important that the child: avoids gum and sticky foods; keeps the space maintainer clean with regular brushing and flossing; does not pull or try to adjust the space maintainer; and continues visiting the dentist regularly. That way, your pediatric dentist can monitor the progress of the child’s tooth growth and ensure he or she has a beautiful – and permanent – smile!