Are fluoride treatments for my kids worth paying for?

I am really good about brushing my kids’ teeth twice a day and I take them to the dentist every six months. Every time we see the pediatric dentist, they put on a fluoride treatment. My insurance has changed and now I have to pay for one of the two treatments a year, which is not cheap when you have four kids. My husband doesn’t think it’s even necessary. We use fluoride toothpaste when we brush and they do get one treatment covered by insurance a year. Should we just refuse the second fluoride treatment a year or should I just pay for it?


April, West Virginia

Dear April,

There is a reason why your pediatric dentist recommends a fluoride treatment every time your children have a check-up. Fluoride is an effective way to help protect your children’s teeth against tooth decay and cavities.

Enamel is a great defender for each tooth. It’s the hard outer surface that protects the inner layers. Enamel can’t be regenerated when it is damaged. Fortunately, fluoride can help strengthen enamel. Fluoride becomes calcium fluoapatite when it is applied to enamel. With the enamel strengthened, the teeth are able to withstand tooth decay. New teeth, especially those that are just erupting in your child’s mouth, are protected.

Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste is a effective practice as it provides a low concentration of fluoride for the teeth. The fluoride in the application the dentist can provide has a much higher concentration and will continue to seep into the surfaces of the tooth for about a month. This can not only help prevent cavities from forming, but can actually reverse decay in its early stages in some cases.

So you will have to decide whether it’s worth it for you to pay for the the fluoride treatment your dentist offers at your second yearly visit. It may be cheaper in the long run to pay for the treatment compared to what you may spend in dental work for cavities and decay.

This post is sponsored by Sedalia Dental in Ohio.