Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
Fluoride works in two ways:
Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by reacting with outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. You gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. In our office it is generally recommend that patients at risk for decay have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. This is effective for developing teeth in young children.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Dr. Hutton or your dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
Recent history of dental decay.
Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important for you to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit our office on a regular basis.
If you have questions about fluoride tretments or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.