Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent cavities, by making the tooth enamel (the hard surface of the tooth) more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay.
This mineral occurs naturally in many foods and water. The fluoride you take in from foods and beverages becomes part of your saliva, and rebuilds weakened tooth enamel.
Fluoride can also be applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwashes.
A dentist can recommend you in-office fluoride treatments, if you are a patient with a high risk of developing cavities. The fluoride preparation used in the dental office is much stronger than that in toothpastes or fluoride mouthwashes. It generally takes a few minutes and the fluoride may be in a form of a solution, gel, foam or varnish.
Another option could be fluoride supplements, which are available as liquids and tablets.
It is very important for kids and children between 6 months and 16 years old to be exposed to fluoride. This is the period when the primary and permanent teeth appear. Adults benefit from fluoride too. This is because this mineral fights tooth decay and strengthen developing teeth.
Studies have shown that water fluoridation and fluoride toothpastes reduce dental caries and make your teeth stronger. Fluoride is safe, but used in excess can cause damage to your teeth. If you have kids, make sure that they do not use more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush and they do not swallow it.
Fluoride toothpastes and fluoride mouthwashes
Toothpastes with fluoride have been responsible for a decrease in cavities. They remove plaque, which is bacteria that forms on teeth and gums. Mouthwash with fluoride can help make your teeth more resistant to decay, but children under 6 years old should not use it because it is very possible that they swallow it and not spit it out.
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, two minutes every time.
- For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they appear. Use a fluoride toothpaste, in size of a grain of rice.
- For children 3 to 6 years old use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Overuse of fluoride in the first 6 years of life that may appear as white lines or spots. can result in enamel fluorosis , a development condition of tooth enamel
- Pay attention to make sure that your kids do not swallow the toothpaste and that they use the right amount.
Drink water with fluoride
Fluoride has been added to public water supplies to bring fluoride levels up to the amount necessary to help prevent tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named water fluoridation as one of the ten most important public health measures for the 20th century. Approximately 100 million of Americans do not receive the benefits of fluoridation. All persons should know whether or not their primary source of drinking water has an optimal level of fluoride.
There are debates whether fluoride is good or not for our oral health. What cannot be doubt is that since fluoride was first added to the community water supplies across the US (this was in 1940s), dental decay rates declined by 56% in the 15 years after fluoride was added.
To conclude this topic, it is a certainty that fluoride prevent tooth decay. Drink water with fluoride, eat food that contains fluoride (for example dry cereals, fish, seafood products), brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste especially when you are a child. In case your dentist considers that you are more vulnerable to develop cavities, he will also recommend you professional fluoride treatments done in the practice.
If you have questions regarding this topic or if you have problems with the strength of your enamel, give us a call at 610.647.7611 to make an appointment. Dr. Arhiri will help you with whatever is necessary.