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Did you know fluoride can occur naturally in water supplies as it is the 13th most common element on Earth?

Fluoride is known to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. 

How does fluoride work?

Tooth decay happens when the outer layer of the teeth is weakened and destroyed by acid. The acid is produced from sugar by bacteria in the mouth, which draws out the minerals (demineralise) from the enamel leaving it vulnerable and prone to cavitation.

Fluoride can limit acid and replace minerals back into the weakened areas (remineralise) before damage becomes irreversible and a hole is formed.

Fluoride toothpaste

Fluoride toothpaste is an essential part of your child’s home care routine.

The amount and strength of toothpaste needs to be according to their age.

0 – 17 months Brushing 1 -2 times a day with no toothpaste
18 months – 6 years Brushing 2 times a day with low fluoride toothpaste (500ppm).   Start off with a rice grain amount of toothpaste and increase to pea size when they have learnt to spit out the toothpaste
6 years and over Brushing 2 times a day with standard fluoride toothpaste (1000 -1550 ppm). Use a pea size amount

The dentist may adjust these amounts depending on each individual child’s risk factors.

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Swish, Spit, No Rinse

Another tip to decrease risk of decay in your child is the teach them the Swish, Spit, No rinse technique. Spitting instead of rinsing ensures that the fluoride will be more effective, as it will remain on the teeth much longer than just for the two minutes.

After thoroughly brushing with a toothbrush and toothpaste for 2 minutes, they should swish the toothpaste around the mouth which helps it flow around and between the teeth. Swishing also promotes saliva flow which remineralises the teeth. Afterwards, spit out all the toothpaste foam and do not rinse with any water or mouthwash. By not rinsing, a thin layer of toothpaste which stays on the teeth to give them extra ongoing protection.

Fluoride treatment at the dentist

Fluoride treatments are typically professional treatments containing a high concentration of fluoride that a dentist or oral health therapist or hygienist will apply to a person’s teeth to reduce the risk of cavities. These in-office treatments may take the form of a solution, gel, foam, or varnish.

Once the treatment is complete, you will need to avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes for maximum effectiveness.

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