As a critical part of preventive care, fluoride has proven to be effective in oral hygiene.
A natural mineral found in oral care products, food (like canned fish, brewed tea, cooked kale or apples) and tap water are able to prevent acid attack of bacteria on the enamel of teeth.
Fluoride also decreases the metabolism of bacteria, preventing acid production. Furthermore, fluoride induces other minerals to move towards the fluoride, such as calcium. The mineral calcium builds strong bones and teeth.
Purpose of Fluoride
Fluoride use in oral hygiene stems from its ability to incorporate itself into the hard enamel.
Once fluoride is embedded in the enamel, acid producing bacteria are unable to demineralize and damage enamel. Additionally, it remineralizes weak enamel and improves initial indications of decay.
Areas that have receding gum, increase in cavities and sensitivity are places where fluoride can help.
Types of Fluoride
· Fluoride in water
o Supplemental fluoride is not for everyone.
o It depends on how much fluoride the tap water in your area contains.
o The amount of fluoride present is based on the units, parts per million (ppm). A normal fluoride content in tap water should be 0.7 ppm. Anything less would warrant considering supplemental fluoride use.
· Fluoride toothpaste
o Some top brand toothpastes contain fluoride.
o On the label of some pastes, a warning is written about fluoride being poisonous in high amounts. However, the amount is quite low, safe and beneficial to oral health.
· Fluoride varnish
o Halting the demineralization process, varnishes are a form of topical fluoride.
o After drying the teeth, the dentists or the hygienists at Peach Smiles paint the varnish on all sides of the tooth with a tiny brush.
o The varnish starts off being sticky and then hardens once exposed to saliva.
o Some products appear white and some appear yellow or dull in shade; however, upon brushing the tooth the next day, it will further whiten.
o It can be applied every three months or three times a year.
o Once applied, refrain from eating for about an hour.
· Fluoride gel
o These products contain fluoride in the form of sodium fluoride
o Children under 6 years old should not use these products.
o In office treatment- applied with a mouth tray, the gel may be found in a syringe and placed in the tray and worn for about 1-4 minutes.
o At home kit- the gel can be placed on a small brush or swab, then gently brushed onto the tooth surface.
o It is important, for children, to rinse the mouth after using the gel. Do your best to avoid swallowing this product and eating for an hour.
o On the other hand, adults should keep the fluoride gel in the mouth for a minimum of 30 minutes.
· Fluoride mouthwashes
o As another option for preventive care, mouthwashes can be used to eliminate bacteria and improve bad odor. Adding fluoride further amplifies oral health.
o They play a role in preventing caries, control tooth wear, plaque and gingivitis.
o The goal lies in maintaining the fluoride contacting the teeth for a longer time.
The dentists at Peach Smiles highly recommend fluoride for kids and adults to prevent tooth decay.
If you have any questions about fluoride, please don’t hesitate to contact the Affordable Lawrenceville Dentist, Peach Smiles at 770-609-6620.