Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that helps rebuild tooth enamel and reverse early signs of tooth decay.
Fluoride helps teeth in two ways, systemically and topically. Systemic fluorides help during tooth development. It’s often found in fluoridated water (most tap water) and dietary fluoride supplements. When children eat or drink fluoride in small doses, it enters the bloodstream and becomes part of their developing permanent teeth.
Topical fluoride protects from decay and is applied directly to the teeth via toothpaste, mouth rinses and treatments at the dentist’s office. Fluoride helps control and protect against the damage caused by the demineralization process, keeping teeth resilient to its negative effects. Once there, the fluoride bonds with the calcium and phosphate that naturally exist in your enamel to create fluoro-apatite, which is a strong material that can resist decay and helps in preventing cavities.
This process keeps your teeth strong while also helping to prevent cavities and tooth sensitivity.
How do I know if I need a supplemental fluoride treatment?
- Are you taking any medicines that cause your mouth to become dry? Do you have a condition that causes dry mouth?
- Have your gums receded so more of your teeth show? Or do you have gum disease?
- Have you needed a filling in the last year?
- Do you have crowned teeth or bridges?
- Are you wearing dental braces?
- Are you receiving, or have you received, radiation therapy to the head and neck?
If any of the above questions answers are yes then you need professional fluoride application treatments.
How to take care?
Talk to us to determine your risk of dental decay. You can reduce this risk in several ways:
- Reduce frequent snacking, especially carbohydrates
- Use fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse to strengthen teeth
- Brush twice a day and floss daily
- Use an antimicrobial toothpaste & mouth rinse if you have gum disease
- Chew sugarless gum or use xylitol lozenges
A healthy diet, good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits can help your teeth as you age. The use of fluoride and good oral hygiene practices can ensure that your teeth remain healthy as you age.
Dental Fluoride applications.
If you are at risk of tooth decay or aren’t getting enough fluoride in your drinking water, we will recommend you fluoride treatments. We use one of several fluoride treatment options to help strengthen your enamel:
- Foam applied into a soft tray that the patient bites into for several minutes
- Fluoride rinse that the patient swishes for several minutes
- Fluoride varnish that the dental hygienist applies directly to the teeth
After the treatment, you may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. You also should visit every 3 months, or as recommended by us.
At-home fluoride treatments
At-home fluoride treatments are available for people with a high risk of cavities, such as those with dry mouth or who are receiving radiation treatments. If your dentist does determine that you can benefit from these applications, they will give you a prescription fluoride gel to apply on your own.
Fluoride supplements come in the form of lozenges, tablets or liquids and can be purchased at most chemists or online with our prescriptions. It is recommended that you discuss any use of over-the-counter fluoride supplements with us to determine whether you or a family member will benefit from a fluoride supplement for use at home.
Fluoride treatment is a quick and easy way to protect the health and longevity of your or your child’s smile. At such a low cost, it is a no-brainer! Talk to us today to learn more.