Fluoride is a natural mineral that is typically found in many types of food and local water supplies. Fluoride is scientifically proven to help combat cavity growth and tooth decay by strengthening the tooth enamel. Many types of toothpaste contain small amounts of fluoride that are helpful to your teeth with daily use. When normal exposure to fluoride does not prevent cavity growth or tooth decay, we can administer a fluoride treatment that has a stronger concentration of fluoride during a routine checkup. This professional treatment is safe and very effective for improving the quality of your teeTh.
Common Reasons for Fluoride Treatment:
- Sensitive Tooth Root or Exposed Root Surface
- Irregular Flow of Saliva or Dry Mouth
- Infrequent Oral Hygiene
- Deep Fissures or Pits on Teeth Surface
- History of Tooth Decay
- No Daily Fluoride Exposure
- Frequent Carbohydrate and Sugar Consumption
- Existing Dental Restorations
How does fluoride prevent cavities?
Fluoride inhibits loss of minerals from tooth enamel and encourages remineralization (strengthening areas that are weakened and beginning to develop cavities). Fluoride also affects bacteria that cause cavities, discouraging acid attacks that break down the tooth. Risk for decay is reduced even more when fluoride is combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.
Topical fluoride is gained when your teeth are exposed to toothpaste or mouthwash that contains fluoride. The fluoride penetrates the tooth enamel and helps protect against cavity growth and tooth decay caused by bacteria and plaque. We can administer fluoride treatments in-office or by recommending home fluoride treatments that can include gels, varnish or foams.
Systemic fluoride is received from many types of foods and in most water supplies. Children can be prescribed special fluoride drops or a gel that is applied directly to the teeth. Close monitoring of this fluoride application is necessary to avoid a condition known as fluorosis that causes white spotting on the teeth exterior.
How safe is fluoride?
Using fluoride for the prevention and control of decay is proven to be both safe and effective. Nevertheless, products containing fluoride should be stored out of the reach of young children. Too much fluoride could cause fluorosis of developing permanent teeth. Fluorosis usually is mild, with tiny white specks or streaks that often are unnoticeable. In severe cases of fluorosis, the enamel may be pitted with brown discoloration. Development of fluorosis depends on the amount, duration and timing of excessive fluoride intake. The appearance of teeth affected by fluorosis can be greatly improved by a variety of treatments in esthetic dentistry.
What type of toothpaste should my child use?
Your child should use toothpaste with fluoride and the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Brushing twice a day (after breakfast and before bedtime) provides greater benefits than brushing once daily. Parents should dispense toothpaste to prevent their young children from swallowing too much.
How much toothpaste should my child use?
For children under 2-years-old, use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste. For those aged 2 to 5 years, a pea-sized amount is recommended.