What is Fluoride?

Fluoride helps make teeth strong and prevents tooth decay. Fluoride is an element, which has been shown to be beneficial to teeth as they develop. However, too little or too much fluoride can be detrimental to the teeth. Little or no fluoride will not strengthen the teeth enough to help them resist cavities. Excessive fluoride ingestion by preschool-aged children can lead to dental fluorosis, which is a chalky white  to even brown discoloration of the permanent teeth. Being aware of child’s potential sources of fluoride can help parents prevent the possibility of dental fluorosis.

Some of these sources are:

  • Too much fluoridated toothpaste at an early age (a rice grain sized amount of toothpaste if swallowed daily is NOT harmful to the developing permanent teeth)
  • Inappropriate use of fluoride supplements
  • Hidden sources of fluoride in the child’s diet found in high levels of processed foods