Fluoride treatments are applied by your dentist to strengthen the enamel, making it harder for acids to destroy your teeth. Your dentist can apply the fluoride treatment in the form of a gel, foam or varnish in a matter of minutes.
Talk to your dentist during your next scheduled visit to discuss how fluoride treatments can benefit you and your family.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that hardens and protects teeth by neutralizing the acid that causes decay. Several decades ago, scientists found that adding fluoride to drinking water significantly decreased the number of cavities in children and adolescents. Most of us get fluoride from toothpastes and fluoride rinses. Children and some adults receive fluoride treatments from the dentist. Fluoride is inexpensive, safe and effective
Benefits of Fluoride:
- Fluoridated water can reduce tooth decay by 50% to 60%
- Fluoride gels given at your dentist’s office twice yearly can reduce decay by 40%
- At least a 25% reduction in cavities can be expected from use of fluoride toothpaste
Dental treatments with fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and even help your teeth rebuild areas of decay in both children and adults. Fluoride also reduces the amount of plaque bacteria in your mouth, which also lessens the chance of tooth decay.
- In children, fluoride works by hardening the enamel portion of the teeth, reducing the risk of decay. For most children, fluoride can be applied beginning at age three as part of a regular dental checkup.
- In adults, fluoride can dramatically reduce temperature sensitivity to hot substances along the root surfaces of the teeth – a common problem in older adults. Fluoride treatments can also help adults by stopping the progress of newly formed cavities.
Some adult and adolescent patients with either very sensitive teeth or a large amount of decay can benefit from home fluoride gels and tablets prescribed by your dentist. These are more powerful than the fluoride products purchased over the counter. Studies have shown the growing incidence of adult tooth decay is reduced by systemic (tap water) and topical fluoride treatments.
- Parents should monitor the fluoride intake of children younger than six years, The first six years of life are an important period for tooth development. Overuse of fluoride during this period can result in a condition that may appear as white lines or spots on the teeth. Monitoring fluoride sources by parents can reduce the incidence of white spots while preventing early tooth decay.
- Birth to one year – brush or wipe teeth with tap water after feedings and before bed. Offer tap water for thirst. Water should be sterilized until the baby is four months old.
- Young children one to 12 years – Offer four to six small glasses of tap water each day. Introduce fluoride toothpaste at age three. Brush teeth twice daily with a tiny amount of toothpaste ( the size of a match head). Toothpaste should never be swallowed.
- Older children 12 to 19 years old – Drink four to six glasses of tap water daily. Brush teeth twice daily with a match-head-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Adults – Drink at least four to six glasses of tap water daily. Brush teeth with no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste each day.
Too much Fluoride:
- Fluoride taken in large amounts, such as eating a tube of toothpaste or drinking a bottle of fluoride rinse, is toxic and can make you very ill. If you think that your child has swallowed a lot of fluoride, get emergency medical assistance at once.
- Never swallow toothpaste or rinse that contains fluoride.
- Watch your children when they are using fluoride.
- Keep fluoride products out of reach of children.
Bottled and Filtered Water:
Most disposable water filters do not remove fluoride from drinking water. To be sure, contact the manufacturer. Most bottled water does not contain fluoride. It’s best to check the label.
Rely on Your Dentist:
To find our if you and your family are getting enough fluoride, consult your dentist. Your dental professional can best advise you whether you need fluoride treatments. The use of fluoride along with brushing, flossing, regular dental checkups and a diet low in sugars can result in strong, healthy teeth.