Fluoride is one of the most effective agents that help prevent tooth decay. An important thing to remember is that fluoride alone will not prevent decay! Fluoride exposure combined with brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, eating balanced meals, and reducing sugar intake all help prevent tooth decay.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally present in almost all foods and water.
How Does Fluoride Work?
- Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth making them more resistant to decay. Topical fluoride comes from using fluoride-containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels.
- Systemic fluoride strengthens teeth that have erupted as well as those that have not. This is ideal for children who are still developing their teeth. We get this type of fluoride form the foods we eat and drink. Ask your dentist for fluoride recommendations based on age and diet.
Why Are Fluoride Treatments Necessary?
Sometimes patients are not getting enough fluoride exposure to ensure their teeth are protected. The dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Sensitive tooth and root surfaces
- High sugar and carbohydrate diet
- Low exposure to fluoride
- History of decay
- Low saliva flow as a result of medication or medical conditions
Remember, good home oral hygiene is vital to maintaining your overall oral health. Visiting your dentist at least twice a year will help keep your mouth and teeth in optimal health and may reduce the need for more advanced procedures.