What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a compound that contains fluorine, a natural element. Using small amounts of fluoride on a routine basis can help prevent tooth decay. In areas where fluoride does not occur naturally, it may be added to community water supplies. Research shows that community water fluoridation has lowered decay rates by over 50 percent, which means that fewer children grow up with cavities. Fluoride can be found as an active ingredient in many dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, gels and varnish.
How does fluoride prevent cavities?
Fluoride inhibits loss of minerals from tooth enamel and encourages remineralization (strengthening areas that are weakened and beginning to develop cavities). Fluoride also affects bacteria that cause cavities, discouraging acid attacks that break down the tooth. Risk for decay is reduced even more when fluoride is combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.
Will my child need fluoride supplements?
The pediatric dentist considers many factors before recommending a fluoride supplement. Your child’s age, risk of developing dental decay and dietary sources of fluoride are important considerations. Infant formulas contain different amounts of fluoride. Bottled, filtered and well waters also vary in the amount of fluoride they contain. Your pediatric dentist can help determine if your child is receiving -- and not exceeding -- the recommended amount.
How safe is fluoride?
Using fluoride for the prevention and control of decay is proven to be both safe and effective. Nevertheless, products containing fluoride should be stored out of the reach of young children. Too much fluoride could cause fluorosis of developing permanent teeth. Fluorosis usually is mild, with tiny white specks or streaks that often are unnoticeable. In severe cases of fluorosis, the enamel may be pitted with brown discoloration. Development of fluorosis depends on the amount, duration and timing of excessive fluoride intake. The appearance of teeth affected by fluorosis can be greatly improved by a variety of treatments in esthetic dentistry.
What type of toothpaste should my child use?
Your child should use toothpaste with fluoride and the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Brushing twice a day (after breakfast and before bedtime) provides greater benefits than brushing once daily. Parents should dispense toothpaste to prevent their young children from swallowing too much.
How much toothpaste should my child use?
For children under 2-years-old, use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste. For those aged 2 to 5 years, a pea-sized amount is recommended.
What is topical fluoride?
Topical fluoride is a preventive agent applied to tooth enamel. It comes in a number of different forms. A dental professional places gels or foams in trays that are held against the teeth for up to four minutes. Fluoride varnish is brushed or "painted" on the enamel. Varnish is especially useful for young patients and those with special needs who may not tolerate fluoride trays. Children who benefit the most from fluoride are those at highest risk for decay. Risk factors include a history of previous cavities, a diet high in sugar or carbohydrates, orthodontic appliances, and certain medical conditions such as dry mouth.
When will my baby get his baby teeth? Most babies will start to get their baby teeth between six and 10 months of age.
Watch for your baby's first teeth to show up in the lower front of his mouth. When this starts to happen, your baby may have some discomfort. The discomfort makes him fussy. The gums may be swollen and tender. He may want to chew things.
The two upper front teeth will probably be the next teeth to come in. The rest of his teeth will come in slowly. In time, he will have a total of 20 baby teeth.
Teething sometimes causes a temperature. If your baby has a temperature of 100 degrees or more, call your doctor or clinic. He may be sick and need treatment.
Gently rubbing your baby's gums with a clean finger, cool spoon or wet cloth can be soothing. You can also give your baby a teething ring or pacifier to chew on.
Some teething rings are made to be chilled. This cool object against his gums may feel good and make him less fussy. You don't need to put any kind of pain reliever on his gums. These wash away quickly and don't help much.
These tips were adapted from the U.S. Department of Education.
Answer: Bruxism is the clenching and / or grinding of your teeth, especially at night. Clenching refers to tightly clamping your top and bottom teeth together The force of clenching causes stressful pressure on the muscles, tissues and jaw. Jaw disorders, jaw pain, soreness, headaches, earaches, damaged teeth and other problems can result from bruxism. If clenching causes jaw pain, it can disrupt sleeping and eating, lead to other dental problems or create TMJ problems. Nightly grinding can also disturb sleeping partners. Your dentist can make a clear night guard for you to sleep in to alleviate the clenching or grinding.
Answer: An orthodontist is a dental specialist that has not only completed college and 4 years of dental school, but has also completed an additional 2 to 3 years residency program accredited by the ADA of advanced education in orthodontics.
After receiving the additional years of training and education, an orthodontist has learned the skills that are required to treat the misalignment of teeth and facial development with braces, headgear, retainers and other methods.
Only a dentist that has completed the additional years of training and education after dental school is an orthodontist.
Answer: The main difference between silver and white dental fillings is the material that they consist of. Silver (amalgam) fillings, are made up of 50% mercury and 50% of other various metals. White (composite) fillings are made up of acrylic and various glass particles. Other differences in silver and white fillings are cost, strength and the way they look.
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