Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water.
How does Fluoride protect teeth?
It helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay. In children under six years of age, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth.
What is Fluoride Treatment?
Fluoride can be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses. Mouth rinses containing fluoride in lower strengths are available over-the-counter; stronger concentrations require a doctor’s prescription.
Our Dentist’s can also apply fluoride to the teeth as a gel, foam, or varnish. These treatments contain a much higher level of fluoride than the amount found in toothpastes and mouth rinses. Varnishes are painted on the teeth; foams are put into a mouth guard, which is applied to the teeth for 1 to 4 minutes; gels can be painted on or applied via a mouth guard.
The importance of Fluoride
It is certainly important for infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years to be exposed to fluoride. This is the timeframe during which the primary and permanent teeth come in. However, adults benefit from fluoride too. New research indicates that topical fluoride (from toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments) are as important in fighting tooth decay as in strengthening developing teeth.
In addition, people with certain conditions may be at increased risk of tooth decay and would therefore benefit from additional fluoride treatment. They include people with:
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