Parents usually know the basics on children’s dental health: limit sugar, make sure they brush and floss regularly, take them to the pediatric dentist for twice-yearly exams and cleanings, discourage between-meal snacking, see that they get enough calcium and Vitamin D, etc. Many North Carolina parents also give their kids fluoride supplements if their municipal water supply has an inadequate level of fluoride.
Is there anything else a concerned parent can do to promote children’s oral health? Yes! Have children use an oral rinse that contains fluoride.
Fluoride supplements help strengthen teeth that are still forming, but fluoride rinses help teeth that have already come in. A fluoride rinse is an added measure of protection.
We recommend children use an oral rinse after they brush and floss. They should swish it around in their mouth for thirty seconds or so, and then spit it out. (Make sure your child doesn’t swallow it!) This should be the last substance in their mouth before they go to bed. The fluoride will remain on the teeth and help prevent new cavities from forming. It can also help stop any demineralization that has already begun by accumulating in the tiny fissures and fortifying the enamel.
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