8615 NE Hazel Dell Avenue,
Vancouver, WA 98665
Does your Child need a Fluoride
Everyone knows that fluoride is good for teeth, but many are
confused by the way that fluoride is delivered in tooth paste,
mouth rinses, dietary supplements, fluoride treatments, and the
public water supply.
Many large studies have proven that children from fluoridated
areas experience about 70% less decay during their
lifetime than those without fluoride. The mechanism is
not through stronger teeth in the sense of physical strength,
like compression, tension, or shearing strength. Fluoride alters
tooth enamel, making it more acid resistant, so acid created by
bacteria in plaque is less able to dissolve parts of the tooth.
Topical fluoride is applied to the surface of
the tooth, as with toothpaste, rinses, and the fluoride
treatments we give at cleaning visits. This is important to boost
the concentration of fluoride in the surface layers of enamel,
but it is not a substitute for systemic fluoride, which works in
a different manner.
Systemic fluoride is provided in some public
water supplies, or as daily dietary supplements. Systemic
fluoride is ingested, then present as a minute concentration in
the blood, which is significant enough that new enamel is
fluoride-rich as a new tooth is formed, long before it erupts
through the gums. All of the teeth except the wisdom teeth are
formed between birth and age 12, so systemic fluoride does not
have great value for dental health for adults.
Fluoridation of public water supplies is one
of the most cost effective public health measures ever. If you
pay your water bill to the City of Vancouver, you have
fluoridated water, and additional systemic fluoride is not
necessary. If you pay your water bill to Clark County PUD, you
should call us for a prescription for fluoride supplements for
children up to age 12. If you only drink well water, you should
have it analyzed by a water purveyor to see what the fluoride
concentration is, and we can provide a prescription if needed to
make up any deficiencies.
We write fluoride prescriptions for flavored, chewable tablets
for children 3 to 12 years of age. Children under 3 usually do
better with prescription fluoride drops. Daily doses are
essential to maintain a steady concentration of fluoride
in the blood stream as teeth develop.