Parents who come to our pediatric dental office in Havertown often want to know if their children should be taking fluoride supplements. This is a legitimate concern since the community water supply does not have fluoride.
Before considering fluoride supplements for each child, we assist parents in determining two things: 1) A child’s risk of getting cavities. 2) If a child is getting fluoride through dietary sources.
How do we determine if a child has a high caries risk?
Dietary sources of fluoride:
These determinations are best made during a child’s first dental visit at age 1 before cavities have a chance to form. Unless a child has high caries risk, most children do not need fluoride supplements. Brushing with appropriate amounts of fluoride toothpaste twice daily from when the first tooth emerges is sufficient in preventing tooth decay or cavities.
Appropriate mounts of fluoride toothpaste are; no more than a smear or “rice-grain” amount for a child less than 3 years of age and no more than a “pea-size” amount for a child age 3-6 years.