Fluoride is a natural mineral that aids in the prevention of tooth decay. It is found in water, soil, the food we eat and your bones and teeth. Fluoride helps to prevent dental caries (cavities). Good oral hygiene and prevention are key. Fluoride is the most effect agent in preventing decay!
Fluoride that is applied to the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay is called a topical fluoride. Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth already present in your mouth, making them less prone to decay. Common examples of at home topical fluoride are toothpaste and mouth rinse.
Fluoride intake is important during a child’s dental development. The consumption of fluoride from food and water, during tooth development allows the mineral to become incorporated with the growth of the primary and permanent teeth. This is known as systemic fluoride and it helps make the teeth more acid resistant resulting in fewer cavities.
Gould Family and Sports Dentistry is trained to prescribe the proper amount of fluoride supplement based on the child’s age and weight while considering other sources of fluoride. Excess fluoride ingestion by a child may result in permanent white marks on the teeth called Fluorosis. This is also why it is so important with young children, due to their tendency to swallow toothpaste, that only a very small amount be placed on the toothbrush until they learn how to spit out the excess.
It is commonly known that fluoride is important for children, but people of all ages are prone to cavities! Fluoride improves the remineralization process of any tooth surface. We recommend fluoride treatment for adults at high risk for cavities. Some of those risk factors include decreased salvia dues to medications, gum recession, and as we age, our teeth weaken making them more prone to decay.
In addition to cavity prevention, fluoride has been shown to reduce and reverse tooth decay in early stages. Keep in mind, fluoride alone will not keep you from developing decay. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet and maintain good oral hygiene. For more information, please talk with your dental health team.