Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
Fluoride works in two ways:
Topical fluoride strengthens teeth and makes them more resistant to decay after they have erupted. Topical fluoride is contained in toothpastes, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists and dental hygienists recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride done twice a year during dental checkup visits.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. Systemic fluoride is found in most foods and in some community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth
Exposed and sensitive root surfaces
Fair to poor oral hygiene habits
Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake
Inadequate exposure to fluoride
Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications
Recent history of dental decay
Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.
Please contact us if you have any questions.