Fluoride, in the correct proportion (1 part / million), is the most effective ingredient available to help prevent tooth decay. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many professional and health organizations. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in nearly all foods and water supplies
Fluoride works in two ways:
Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by making the tooth more resistant to decay and attaching to the outer surface of the tooth enamel. We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, gels, and mouth rinses. Dr. Braithwaite and the hygienist will recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice yearly during dental check-ups. (up to 14 years)
Supplemental fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. In most Utah communities we are highly deficient in the amount of fluoride in our community water systems. We gain some fluoride from our community water supplies and from most foods. It is also supplied as a supplement in drops or chewable tablets and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through 14 years. It is very important to watch the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. Too much fluoride can cause a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth).
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Dr. Braithwaite and the dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
- Inadequate or low exposure to fluorides.
- Sensitive and exposed root surfaces.
- Decreased saliva flow due to current medical treatments, medical conditions or prescriptions.
- Deep pits and fissures on the biting surfaces of teeth.
- Poor oral hygiene habits.
- Frequent carbohydrate and sugar intake.
- Recent and continued history of dental decay.
Remember, fluoride does not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, reduce sugary snacks, eat balanced meals, and visit our office on a regular basis.