fluoride and sealants
Did you know that caries has decreased
drastically in children around the world
thanks to fluoride?
Fluoride has proved to be a safe and effective
method to reduce the prevalence of caries
in the world and stop enamelís demineralization.
Systemic prenatal fluoride was recommended
decades ago, however it was proven to
be ineffective because the amount of it
that passed through the placenta wall is unknown.
For this reason currently fluoride should be
applied topically and in small but frequent doses.
Professional application of
Decisions on supplementary applications of fluoride must be made according to individual risk of caries. The paediatric dentist must assess the child's caries risk in order to decide the type of fluoride administration, as well as its frequency.
At home, toothpaste is the main source of topical fluoride. Since an excess of ingested fluoride can cause fluorosis, in children younger than 6 years of age, we recommend that parents should be responsible for placing the toothpaste on their children’s toothbrush to have better control.
To benefit from fluoride’s anti-caries properties and simultaneously minimize the risk of fluorosis, we must bear in mind that:
- In children 2-year-old or younger who still haven’t learned to spit correctly and have high caries risk, parents should use fluorized toothpaste (1000ppm) in “smear layer” or “grain of rice” amounts.
- For children above 3 years of age who spit correctly, toothpastes with higher fluoride concentrations should be used (1000-1450ppm) in “pea-sized” amounts.
Amount of toothpaste for children younger than 2 years.
Amount of toothpaste for children above 3 years.
Molars have rough surfaces, with pits and fissures where food and germs are deposited and stay there for a long time, as the bristles of the toothbrush are unable remove them. Sealants where first used during the sixties and have proven to be very useful in caries prevention.
They are thin plastic layers that are applied on these chewing surfaces to avoid bacteria and food to enter into the tooth and therefore prevent caries.
Sealants are applied over healthy teeth, saving money and time in the long run to prevent the application of fillings and crowns to get rid of the caries.
Sealants are healthy and effective, and its application is simple and painless. However, after applying them, regular visits to the paediatric dentist rare recommended to make sure they have not worn out. If this happened, they are very easy and rapid to fix.
Fluoride varnish application
Our recommendations on this topic are:
- We don't advice the administration of prenatal fluoride to pregnant women.
- Ask your paediatric dentist to advice you on the application of topical fluoride to your child, according to his/her caries risk.
- Ask your paediatric dentist if your child's molars or teeth (milk or permanent) have a particular morphology (anatomy) that favours the retention of food. If they do, the application of sealants may be beneficial.
- If your child has sealed teeth or molars it is very important to visit the paediatric dentist regularly to make sure they have not fallen or worn out.
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