Children encounter fluoride in two ways:
The fluoride in toothpaste and mouth rinses helps to make the teeth stronger against tooth decay by getting incorporated into the enamel.
1. Topically - From toothpaste & mouth rinses
2. Systemically - From the water supply
The fluoride from the water supply gets ingested into the body and deposited into the enamel of the developing permanent teeth that have not yet erupted. Thus, these teeth will already be stronger against cavities when they grow into the mouth.
If you do not have fluoride in your water supply or if you use only bottled water, your child may need a supplement. It is important that parents ensure that the child takes his/her fluoride supplements.
Sealants are a protective barrier that is placed over the deep grooves of the chewing surfaces on the permanent molars.
As illustrated, the grooves on the teeth can be a cave for bacteria to hang out in. A toothbrush bristle is unable to penetrate the groove because it is too large. Thus, by sealing off the groove with a white tooth paint, bacteria are unable to penetrate into these grooves and cavities can be prevented.