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Common dental questions about your child’s teeth are answered

Are fluoride supplements for children necessary?

The American Dental Association recommends the use of systemically ingested fluoride drops or tablets only for children at high risk for severe dental decay. These are typically children who live in non-fluoridated areas and who also have eating habits or medical considerations that put them at an extreme risk for cavities. However, these are rare cases and the dentist at Grand Dental Group don’t usually prescribe systemic fluoride supplements. Parents of high cavity risk children should contact their dentist and pediatrician to determine if such a prescription is necessary. It is important that children and adults receive the optimal level of topical and systemic fluoride to receive the benefit without the risks. Too much fluoride ingested can cause tooth malformation and discoloration. Too little fluoride will not provide a benefit at all. The right amount of topical and systemic fluoride, especially while the teeth are forming, can aid in the development of stronger teeth and reduce the likelihood of dental decay. Because fluoride is readily available in some bottled waters, in canned vegetable and fruits, and in packaged foods, most children receive enough fluoride without adding supplements.

What causes white spots on teeth?

White spots on your teeth or your child’s teeth can have many causes. Most commonly, white patches on permanent teeth are a sign of fluorosis, or an over-consumption of system fluoride while the adult teeth were forming. This is generally not harmful or indicative of any further problems. White halos along the gumline or around orthodontic brackets are typically areas of decalcification, or early dental decay. Cavities often start when plaque sits along the gumline or braces and etches the enamel, causing a white line or semi-circle. Other causes of permanent white marks can be from facial or oral trauma or excessive antibiotics or other systemic medications as a young child. When in doubt, ask your dentist to evaluate the appearance of your teeth. Many times, your dentist can offer services and procedures to reduce the appearance of white spots and offer a more esthetically pleasing result.

Why is my child’s baby tooth pink?

Looking into your child’s mouth and seeing a pink tooth seems worrisome. Parents should know that is it not generally a serious situation, however. Pink-tinted teeth are a sign of tooth resorption. This is most common in baby teeth, and typically harmless. Pink adult or permanent teeth can indicate a more significant concern and patients with permanent teeth that are turning pink should consult their dentist. In baby teeth, root resorption occurs as the tooth is shedding. The root resorbs and begins to dissolve. Once the root is completely resorbed, the baby tooth will fall out. This is why baby teeth that fall out have no roots; only the crown is present. If the resorption of the root continues up into the crown of the tooth, the tooth can take on a pink shade. The pink color is a result of the thinning or the translucency of the enamel. This looks odd, but is not cause for alarm. Parents can always contact their dentist for an evaluation if the tooth causes pain, has an adult tooth growing in in front or behind it, or if they would like peace of mind.

 

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