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Chermside Qld 4032
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Saturday, January 24, 2015 Fluoride & Other Agents   Login


Fluoride is a natural mineral and is one of the most effective agents for preventing tooth decay and making your teeth strong.  Fluoride can be found in water and in many different foods, as well as in dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, gels, varnish and supplements. Fluoride is effective when combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.  

Does my child get enough fluoride?

The best way for your child to receive fluoride's protection is by drinking water containing the right amount of the mineral. Children who from birth drink water containing fluoride on average have up to 50% fewer cavities.

Dr Vicky or your dentist considers many different factors before recommending a fluoride supplement if you live in a community that does not have optimally fluoridated drinking water.  Your child's age, risk of developing dental decay, and the water and different liquids your child drinks are important considerations to ensure your child is receiving the proper amount.  If you think your child is at high risk of developing dental decay, seek advice from us or your dentist about using other appropriate fluoride options.

Fluoride supplements (drops or tablets) are no longer recommended to all children because of the risk of fluorosis.  Children who benefit the most from fluoride supplements are those at highest risk for dental decay. Risk factors include a history of decay, high sugar diet, orthodontic appliances and certain medical conditions.  The use of fluoride supplements should be based upon the recommendation of Dr Vicky or your dentist.

What type and amount of toothpaste should my child use?

Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced when a child is 1 year of age.  Prior to that parents should clean the child's teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush.  When toothpaste is used in young children, parents should supervise brushing and only a small pea-sized amount on the brush are recommended. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.  Do not leave toothpaste tubes where young children can reach them. The flavors that help encourage them to brush may also encourage them to eat toothpaste.  

If your local water supply is NOT fluoridated:
Birth - 12 months: As soon as teeth appear, clean them twice daily with a child soft toothbrush without toothpaste.

12 months - 6 years: Clean teeth twice a day with low flouride toothpaste (Colgate My First, Oral B stages, Macleans Milk Teeth)
6 years and over: Clean teeth twice a day with standard fluoride toothpaste

If your local water supply is fluoridated: (less than 5% of Queenslander)
Birth - 18 months: As soon as teeth appear, clean them twice daily with a child soft toothbrush without toothpaste.
18 months - 6 years: Clean teeth twice a day with low flouride toothpaste (Colgate My First, Oral B stages, Macleans Milk Teeth)
6 years and over: Clean teeth twice a day with standard fluoride toothpaste

Is fluoride safe?

Fluoride is documented to be safe and highly effective in caries prevention. Research indicates water fluoridation, the most cost effective method in caries prevention.  Only small amounts of fluoride are necessary for the maximum benefit. Proper toothpaste amount must be supervised, and other forms of fluoride supplementations must be carefully monitored in order to prevent a potential overdose.

Excessive fluoride ingestion by young children can lead to dental fluorosis, which is a chalky white to even brown discoloration of the permanent teeth, usually on the front teeth.  Many children often get more fluoride than their parents realize. Being aware of a child's potential sources of fluoride can help parents prevent the possibility of dental fluorosis.

  • Too much fluoridated toothpaste at an early age.
  • The inappropriate use of fluoride supplements.
  • Hidden sources of fluoride in the child's diet.

Young children may not be able to spit out fluoride-containing toothpaste when brushing. As a result, they may ingest an excessive amount of fluoride during tooth brushing. Toothpaste ingestion during this critical period of permanent tooth development is the greatest risk factor in the development of fluorosis.

Excessive and inappropriate intake of fluoride supplements may also contribute to fluorosis. Fluoride drops and tablets should not be given to infants younger than six months of age. After that time, fluoride supplements should only be given to children after all of the sources of ingested fluoride have been accounted for and upon the recommendation of your dentist.

Certain foods and drinks that are manufactured in fluoridated citiescan contain high level of fluoride.  This is another source of fluoride if it is in the foods or drinks.  

Apart from fluoride, any other agents can help to prevent decay in children's teeth?

Chlorhexidine is an antiseptic that is commonly used in mouthwashes.  Chlorhexidine gel has been commonly used and is documented safe for caries control in children.  Scientific evidence has shown that regular use of chlorhexidine gel significantly reduces and eliminates the decay causing bacteria (mutans streptococci) and subsequently reduce the caries risk in high caries risk children.   The gel (pea-sized amount) is brushed on the teeth either once a week or daily.  Chlorhexidine should only be given to children upon the recommendation of Dr Vicky or your dentist.

"Tooth Mousse" Casein phosphopeptide stabilised amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP) is a new form of calcium phosphate developed whereby the calcium and phosphate ions (teeth minerals) are held in a bioavailable form using milk protein casein phosphopeptides.  This CCP-ACP can help to slow down decay progression and promote regression of early stages of decay.  It is available in creme in a variety of flavours (GC Tooth Mousse) or in a sugar-free chewing gum (Recaldent).  


It has been shown in numerous scientific literature that children with high caries risk benefit from the tooth mousse.  The tooth mousse can be applied easily by smearing a small amount of tooth  mousse over the teeth by toothbrush.  Application at night before bed after normal toothbrushing is recommended.  

The tooth mousse is documented safe to use in children and does not interfere with the actions of fluoride products.  It should only be prescribed to high-caries risk children by dental professionals.  Children should not use tooth mousse if they have a sensitivity or allergy to milk protein, dairy products and hydroxybenzoates.  

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