Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that is found in the earth’s crust and in some water supplies. It is an essential component of cavity resistant tooth enamel. To ensure that your child’s teeth have maximum resistance to cavities, it is important that fluoride be used to strengthen the enamel crystal. When baby teeth and permanent teeth develop in an environment with optimal fluoride levels, the entire tooth from inside to outside has this resistance to decay. Once the teeth come into the mouth, they can be given additional protection by applying topical fluoride to the outermost parts of the tooth, which are at most risk of damage. When it is not found in the local water supply, it can be added in appropriate amounts by the local water company to bring it up to optimal levels or Dr. Smith can prescribe a daily supplement. Additional protection can be afforded by applying fluoride topically.
At your child’s examination, Dr. Smith will assess the level of dietary or systemic intake. If your child drinks bottled water, we will ascertain how much fluoride is present in the brand you buy. Some brands of spring water actually come out of the ground with the proper amount already present, most do not. While all towns in Southern Westchester fluoridate their water to the optimal level, many supplies north of White Plains and up into Connecticut have well water with inadequate amounts. We will also consider the type of water filtration that you might use—some systems remove the fluoride. When necessary, Dr. Smith can prescribe a supplement.
Additional, important protection from decay can be realized by applying topical fluoride directly to the teeth. In the office at our regular check-ups, we always apply fluoride in a paint-on form for young children or in a foam via a soft tray for older children. We will also make recommendations for further fluoride use at home in the form of rinses or gels.