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Archives for August 2015
Fluoride intake for young
It is well known that fluoride, an element found in most water sources, has numerous dental benefits. It is essential to proper oral care. Fluoride can strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay by keeping the acid produced by the bacteria in plaque from dissolving the enamel of our teeth. It cannot restore teeth with cavities, but it can prevent cavities, and it also reverses the early stages of tooth decay by allowing tooth enamel to repair, or remineralize, itself. Fluoridated water, toothpaste, mouthwash, and supplement pills are all sources of fluoride.
Proper fluoride intake is an important part of a well-rounded dental health regimen. Infants and young children don’t require as much, however, when carefully monitored, a child’s intake of fluoride is still a beneficial and necessary part of their oral care.
Fluoride Intake for Infants
Infants require the least amount of fluoride of any age group. Fluoride supplements, which are usually prescribed when children live in an area without fluoridated water, are not necessary for infants. For children under six months of age, the water used to prepare a baby’s formula provides sufficient fluoride. Baby formula generally contains fluoride already, with milk-based formulas containing less fluoride than soy-based formulas. Because of this, parents have the option of supplementing the level of fluoride contained in baby formula by preparing their child’s formula with tap water or fluoridated bottled water. If they want to limit their child’s fluoride intake, they can use non-fluoridated bottled water.
Some parents also choose to breastfeed as a way to limit fluoride intake. It should be noted, however, that breast milk contains only very small trace amounts of fluoride, and a breast milk fed baby receives virtually no fluoride exposure. Parents are advised to consult with a dentist to determine how to ensure their infants receive the right amount of fluoride.
When baby teeth begin appearing, parents can brush their child’s teeth with an infant toothbrush using water and a tiny smear of toothpaste. Children’s teeth should be brushed this way until around age two.
Fluoride Intake for Young Children
After the age of two, children begin brushing their own teeth, thus regularly ingesting fluoride in their toothpaste. Past this age, most of their fluoride intake comes from water, so children should only use a small amount of toothpaste when they brush. A pea-sized amount is more than sufficient, and children should always use a toothpaste that carries the ADA’s seal of approval.
Under the age of six, children should not use mouth wash that contains fluoride. Younger children have a tendency to swallow too much toothpaste while brushing, and if they use mouthwash, there is a high likelihood of them swallowing that as well. Parents should supervise young children when they are brushing their teeth to ensure they are not swallowing their toothpaste. It is around this age when, if a child lives in an area without a fluoridated water supply, a dentist might prescribe fluoride supplements to build their fluoride intake beyond toothpaste.
Fluoride is a pivotal part of maintaining proper dental health. While fluoride intake needs to be carefully monitored in infants and young children to avoid overexposure, parents should not be deterred from recognizing the benefits. Speaking with a dentist or pediatric dentist is an excellent way to learn more about caring for children’s teeth, and obtaining more information about fluoride needs.
Natural Oral Care Options:
With all of the information circulating about the benefits of organic foods and natural ingredients, many people are curious about natural oral care options. While natural products and ingredients are no replacement for proper oral health care: flossing, brushing, and mouthwash, there are some natural products that can improve the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth.
When in doubt, talk with your dentist. Read the ingredients on the label for any natural oral product and talk with your dentist about the potential benefits or risks for each ingredient. While most natural oral care products are safe to use, there is still much to be learned about which ingredients are the most effective in helping to prevent and fight against gum disease and cavities. One thing is for sure, fluoride is the only FDA-approved ingredient proven to fight cavities.
There are some natural ingredients and foods that can help to clean your teeth. Some of these might even protect your mouth against tooth decay and gum disease:
• Eucalyptol, tea tree, and menthol oils
• Vitamin D
• Baking soda
• Green tea
Some toothpastes include baking soda as an ingredient, however, mixing regular baking soda from your cabinet with a bit of water into a paste can work just as well! It is important to dilute baking soda as it can burn your gums at full strength.
One study found that people who drink green tea on a regular basis have healthier gums than people who don’t. Another suggested that rinsing with green tea has the same protective effect on your teeth as rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash.
Oils like tea tree, eucalyptol, and menthol are botanical antiseptics and can help to kill mouth bacteria, which fights against inflamed gums. In fact, there are toothpastes and mouthwashes that include these ingredients.
The natural ingredient with the best reputation for fighting against tooth decay is Xylitol. This herbal product is an alcohol that is used in place of sugar in gum and lozenges. In recent studies it has been shown to limit the growth of bacteria and also acts as a carrier of calcium and fluoride to help strengthen the teeth. Chewing suger free gum after a meal is a good way to “rinse” your mouth of the sugars and acids accumulated from the food and drinks that you’ve eaten. However, not all sugar free gums are the same. Chewing gum sweetened with 100% Xylitol will also help repair, remineralize and strengthen your enamel.
Vitamin D is thought to kill bacteria, and some studies show a correlation between low Vitamin D levels and gum disease. It is always best to talk with your doctor before adding a Vitamin to your daily consumption, however, you can get Vitamin D naturally from foods like tuna, eggs, salmon, and fortified juice or milk.
Follow these simple steps to make sure that your smile – and your breath – are making a good impression:
- Brush and floss frequently. The number one cause of bad breath is plaque. This tacky buildup sticks to the surface of your teeth and grows bacteria. Any food that is stuck between your teeth will add to the problem, as it decays over time. When you brush and floss your teeth, you are removing old food and bacteria-harboring plaque, thus removing odors.
- Scrape your tongue. While this might be the last thing that you think of doing on a given day, your tongue can be coated with a film that hosts bacteria. When you brush your teeth, simply take a few seconds to also brush your tongue, which will gently remove the film and the odor-causing bacteria.
- Avoid smelly foods. Foods like garlic and onions not only permeate your breath with their odors, but they find their way into your bloodstream and into your lungs where their smell comes out of your mouth and nose when you breathe. In order to avoid this problem, you must avoid eating these foods.
- Use rinse. Keep a travel-sized bottle of antibacterial mouth rinse with you and use it after meals. This not only freshens your breath, but will add an additional layer of protection to your mouth by reducing bacteria. Use the mouth rinse along with a follow-up rinse of regular water to completely wash away food particles.
- Chew gum. Rather than eating an after dinner mint, chew a piece of gum to stimulate saliva, which will naturally defend against plaque. Sucking on candies and mints will instead expose your teeth to sugar and encourage the growth of bacteria.
If following these tips doesn’t address your bad breath issues, make an appointment with your dentist for additional advice. You might be suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition, or have an oral health issue that needs to be addressed.