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Flouride, Fluorine and Choosing a Toothpaste for Children

Fluoride and fluorine are two terms often confused, but they have a significant difference between them. Fluorine is an essential element found in the air, water, soil, plants, and even animals in certain amounts, serving as a fundamental element for the body.

On the other hand, fluoride is the ion form of dissolved fluorine, which can combine with other elements to form compounds.

What Are the Benefits of Fluoride?

Fluoride is an element found in mouthwashes and toothpaste in certain amounts, and its effectiveness in preventing decay has been proven through scientific research. Fluoride strengthens the outermost layer of the tooth, known as enamel, making it more resistant to decay. Additionally, it helps prevent the bacteria that cause tooth decay from producing acid.

Fluoride also has a protective effect against gum diseases. When it is deficient, gum recession, bacterial attachment to tooth surfaces, and tooth decay can occur.

What Are the Dangers of Fluoride?

Fluoride has the property of accumulating in the body, and excessive intake can lead to toxic effects. When absorbed, 40-50% of fluoride accumulates in the bones and brain, causing a condition called “fluorosis.”

  • Accumulation of fluoride in the brain can lead to behavioral disorders and a decrease in IQ.
  • Excessive fluoride intake can result in a decrease in thyroid hormones.
  • When fluoride accumulates in the bones, it can cause a condition similar to rheumatism known as “skeletal fluorosis.” In children, fluoride accumulation can reach up to 50%, while in adults, it is around 10%.

How Much Fluoride Should Be in Children’s Toothpaste?

The amount of fluoride in children’s toothpaste varies based on age groups. For children aged 6 months to 2 years, toothpaste containing 500ppm fluoride should be applied as a smear twice a day. For children aged 2-6 years, toothpaste with 1000ppm fluoride should be used, applying a pea-sized amount twice a day. Children aged 6 and above should use toothpaste containing 1450ppm fluoride, applying a pea-sized amount twice a day.

When Does Toothbrushing Skill Develop in Children?

Toothbrushing is one of the fine motor skills that need to be developed for children. It is typically fully developed around the ages of 8-9. Therefore, parents should perform toothbrushing for their children up to the age of 4-5, and from 5 to 9 years old, it should be done under parental supervision.

In Which Age Group Should Fluoride-Free Toothpaste Be Used?

Fluoride-free toothpaste is recommended for children under 3 years of age who do not have nighttime feeding, whose mothers do not have active decay, and who have a carbohydrate-free diet.

Should Fluoridated or Non-Fluoridated Toothpaste Be Used in Children?

Most toothpaste products contain at least some fluoride, with the exception of toothpaste designed for children aged 0-3, which is fluoride-free.

Which Toothpaste Brands Can Be Preferred for Children?

According to Pediatric Dentist Specialist Özge Gönenç, ROCS is often recommended for children aged 0-3 as a fluoride-free toothpaste. ROCS is popular because it classifies toothpaste products by age group, making it a suitable choice based on the child’s age. SENSODYNE KIDS toothpaste is also well-liked for children aged 6 and older.

Should Fluoride Varnish or Gel Be Applied in Schools?

Fluoride gels or varnishes applied in schools under the supervision of dentists serve as a supplement to the development of tooth enamel. Therefore, the application of fluoride can be permitted.

Should You Get Fluoride Treatments from a Dentist?

In addition to individual applications like toothpaste, fluoride applications are also carried out in a clinical setting by a dentist to prevent decay. The frequency of fluoride applications is determined by the dentist based on the child’s risk of decay and age.

How Long Should Fluoride Treatments Be Administered?

A single fluoride application does not offer any benefits. To maximize the benefits, fluoride treatments should continue for three years.

  • For the high-risk group, every 6 months
  • For the low and moderate-risk group, once a year

Is Fluoride Application Alone Sufficient to Prevent Tooth Decay?

Of course, fluoride applications alone are not sufficient. Factors such as regulating diet and maintaining plaque control are also important.

Is Fluoride Toxic?

According to the “Fluoride Status Report” published in 2016, the Turkish Pedodontics Association (TPD) and the Turkish Dental Association (TDB) Education Commission reported that fluoride sources used for preventing decay do not contain toxic levels of fluoride. Therefore, they are considered safe.

In light of this information, to learn more about the positive effects of fluoride on dental health and its correct use, you can consult a dentist. Children’s dental health is a part of their overall health and should be managed with care.

To maintain dental health and reduce the risk of decay, habits such as regular dental check-ups, balanced nutrition, reducing sugary foods and beverages, and regular tooth brushing are important. These habits should be instilled in children from an early age and maintained throughout their lifetime.

In conclusion, fluoride can protect both dental and bone health when used correctly. However, the quantity and frequency of use, especially in children, should be carefully regulated. Pediatric dentists can provide guidance on the proper and safe use of fluoride and assist families in protecting their children’s dental health.

Dt. Arzu Uluköylü Arı, a member of the Turkish Dental Association, has focused her practice on composite fillings, composite laminate veneers, porcelain laminate veneers, and empress (full porcelain).

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