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What is fluoride?

What exactly is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral found in nature. It can help to prevent tooth decay by hardening your child’s teeth and decreasing the likelihood of cavities. Fluoride is  also capable of repairing the early stages of tooth decay! Fluoride, like brushing, flossing, and seeing your pediatric dentist, is an important component of your little surfer’s oral health regimen.

Now that we know what fluoride is...how does it work?

Whenever your little surfer eats or drinks, the bacteria in your child’s mouth survives on the sugars in the food. This causes an acid attack on your child’s teeth, removing calcium and phosphate and making their teeth increasingly susceptible to decay. Saliva plays an important part in protecting their teeth against acid, but it isn’t always sufficient. This is where fluoride comes into play. Fluoride assists in remineralizing and strengthening the enamel layer of teeth. It reinforces weaker teeth and helps to prevent cavities.

Where Can I Find Fluoride?

You don't have to look far! Here are the most common ways to add more fluoride to your life!


A variety of foods and beverages contain fluoride, particularly processed items, which have a higher likelihood of containing the mineral. However, consuming large doses of fluoride isn’t exactly the healthiest thing to do. If you’re curious as to why, scroll over to our FAQ. By maintaining a well-rounded diet for your little surfer, you can ensure that they will always consume sufficient levels of fluoride.  


Fluoride is found in many foods and drinks. The more processed the food is, the higher the likelihood that it has fluoride. However, ingesting high levels of fluoride isn’t necessarily a good thing (scroll to our FAQ to read why). Having your child eat a balanced diet will help them receive a healthy and sufficient amount.


We encourage the use of fluoride toothpaste in your little surfer’s routine, as this makes it easier for the enamel to absorb it more efficiently.  According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, it is very beneficial for children to use fluoridated toothpaste. If you’re curious about what the recommended amounts are, check out our FAQ below). Another way to incorporate more fluoride in your little surfer’s routine is by using fluoridated mouthwash. 


Our experienced Kennewick pediatric dentists apply a topical fluoride treatment during your little surfer’s appointment. This treatment is a great resource for fighting tooth decay; it is more concentrated than other sources of fluoride, which makes it incredibly successful. If your child is 15 or under, we encourage them to receive a topical fluoride treatment at least twice a year. If there are already indications of decay, we may suggest silver diamine fluoride.  With all these sources of fluoride, how can you know which one is the best? Rather than trying to figure out which one is superior, we encourage a balanced combination of all four!

What To Know About Sweets

FAQs About Fluoride

Satisfy your curiosity about the topic of the hour!

What is silver diamine fluoride, and how does it work?

It is a colorless liquid that is made up of silver and fluoride. The silver permeates the enamel’s surface to eliminate cavity-causing germs, while the fluoride remineralizes and strengthens the tooth. In combination, these two elements can work together to reduce or stop dental deterioration. We may suggest the use of silver diamine fluoride if your child displays indicators of decay, but is too young or unable to undergo restorative intervention at this time. This fluoride treatment can help to prevent further tooth decay until your child is able to receive the appropriate treatment. 

Is it safe to give my child fluoride?

Yes, it’s okay when ingested or administered in low dosages! As long as an excessive amount of fluoride dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash are not ingested, they are harmless. Too much fluoride can induce dental fluorosis, which affects teeth that are still growing beneath the gums and creates white patches on the teeth’s surface. Here at Smile Surfers in Kennewick, our procedures of applying topical fluoride and silver diamine fluoride are both successful and extremely safety-conscious. 

What is the recommended fluoride toothpaste dosage for my child?

If they are below three years old, they should only use a “smear” of toothpaste. For little surfers aged 3 to 6, a pea-sized dollop of toothpaste will do! While they are still learning, we recommend that you join your children and guide them through the process of brushing their teeth. This helps to ensure that all of their teeth are cleaned well and allows you to keep an eye on them to make sure that they do not swallow toothpaste. As soon as your little surfer’s first tooth emerges, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests brushing with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

What is the price of a fluoride treatment? Is it covered by insurance?  

Dental insurance often includes fluoride treatments. In some instances, you may only receive this treatment once a year as covered by your insurance provider. If that scenario applies to you, we’ll work together to find a way for your child to get the ADA and AAPD guidelines of two treatments per year. Please contact us for a cost estimate or to double-check your insurance coverage! Our warm and welcoming team is ready to help you with whatever you might need!

What is a Caries Risk Assessment?

A Caries Risk Assessment is a preventive test that evaluates the likelihood of your child developing cavities. Using this information, our pediatric dentists can personalize their advice for at-home habits and treatment suggestions to prevent your little surfer from from encountering any oral health issues. 
Because fluoride is a factor in the Caries Risk Test, we’ll ask about your child’s:
  • Levels of water consumption
  • The water’s quality
  • Diet
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Brushing and flossing routine 

If you’re concerned about your little surfer being susceptible to cavities, be sure to make an appointment at our Kennewick office! 

Help Your Little Surfer Fight Off Cavities!

We'll make sure your little surfer gets enough fluoride to maintain their beautiful smiles!