When it comes to preventing tooth decay, fluoride treatment is essential. This effective mineral can be found in virtually all food and water sources. For over fifty years, the benefits of fluoride have been proven and recognized by health care professionals around the world.
Topical fluoride is used on teeth that have already erupted (broken through the gums). The fluoride seeps into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, strengthening it from the inside out. This also makes the tooth more resistant to decay. Toothpastes, mouthwashes and rinses containing fluoride can be used effectively in our daily defense against tooth decay. Dentists and dental hygienists recommend a twice-yearly fluoride application for children.
Systemic fluoride fortifies teeth that have erupted as well as those still beneath the surface. Systemic fluoride can be found in most foods and community water supplies. It can also be taken as a supplement in drop or gel form. If you don’t know where to get fluoride supplements, your dentist can prescribe them. Fluoride drops are generally recommended for infants, and gels for children up to ten years old. It is critical to keep track of the amount of fluoride consumed by children. A condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) can result if too much fluoride is ingested.
Even though many of us receive fluoride daily in food and water, sometimes it is not enough to prevent tooth decay from forming. Additional fluoride treatments may be prescribed to you if you display one of the following conditions:
It is important to remember that fluoride alone will not counteract tooth decay. As with all areas of health, proper prevention and maintenance habits (daily bushing and flossing, dentist visits, limited sugar intake and a balanced diet) are all critical for good oral health.