Fluorides have been used for many years to help prevent dental decay.

This is because fluoride hardens the tooth surface, making it more resistant to acid attack and decay. Today, most dental professionals apply fluoride in their offices as a foam, gel or varnish.  Fluoride varnish (5% sodium fluoride) has been widely used in Europe for several decades and its use is increasing in the United States. Varnish comes in tubes for multiple applications using a cotton swab, or as prepackaged single doses with a small disposable applicator brush.

Healthy teeth are important to your child's overall health. From the time your child is born, there are things you can do to promote healthy teeth. For babies, you should clean teeth with a soft, clean cloth or baby's toothbrush. Avoid putting the baby to bed with a bottle and check teeth regularly for spots or stains.

For all children, you should:

  • Brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Provide healthy foods and limit sweet snacks and drinks
  • Provide low-fat milk and dairy products high in calcium
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups

Forming good habits at a young age can help your child have healthy teeth for life.