Fluoride is formed in rocks and found naturally in bodies of water like rivers, lakes, and streams. These days fluoride can be found in drinking water, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and experts agree that it’s the best way to prevent decay. Fluoride helps your tooth enamel resist erosion by acids found in the food we eat.
It’s important to note that while fluoride can be found in bottled water or drinking water in some cities, the amount is not enough to prevent decay wor skip professional fluoride treatments for children. Children still need fluoride and benefit greatly from regular professional treatments between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. At your child’s routine dental cleaning, the hygienist will apply fluoride varnish, gel, or foam to your child’s teeth to help prevent cavities.
Why is it so important for kids? Because the body will incorporate that fluoride into adult teeth, making them stronger and healthier. In this way, fluoride helps the body fight tooth decay over time.
Applying topical fluoride during a routine dental cleaning is painless and will not stain teeth. Some brands do temporarily make teeth appear yellow, but the color disappears when the teeth are brushed. Fluoride significantly strengthens tooth enamel and can reverse small cavities when applied professionally.
The fluoride varnish only takes a few minutes to apply and the procedure can be done 2 to 4 times a year. It’s painless and children can eat or drink directly after application if they choose. However, teeth should not be brushed or flossed up to 6 hours after a fluoride application.
Recommendations may be made for 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.
It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis. Fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay!
Fluoride Treatment FAQ
Yes. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association agree that fluoridated water is a safe as well as effective at preventing tooth decay.
It is safe to mix fluoridated water with infant formula.
If the fluoride levels in your water are too low, your dentist may suggest daily fluoride supplements. Fluoride can be given twice a day and can be mixed with food or drinks. Your dentist can advise you on proper dosage for fluoride supplements.
Children under 3 years old may use fluoride toothpaste as soon as their teeth come in, but they should only use an amount equal to the size of a grain of rice. Older children, ages 3 to 6, should use fluoride toothpaste in an amount equal to the size of a pea. Children under 6 will need help brushing their teeth in order to avoid getting too much fluoride, which could lead to fluorosis.
Fluoride can also be found in drinking water in many cities, bottled water, and in toothpaste and mouthwash.
Dental fluorosis is a tooth disorder characterized by hypomineralization of tooth enamel caused. It is caused by ingesting too much fluoride. When fluorosis is moderate, tooth surfaces are mottled and brown stains may appear on the surface of the teeth.
Fluoride can help remove stains from teeth, making them appear whiter than they were prior to treatment.
The varnish remains on the teeth until they are brushed. However, the benefits of fluoride remain for months after treatment.
When you brush your teeth, the fluoride varnish will be removed, However the beneficial effects of the varnish will remain in your enamel for months after treatment.
While most cases of fluorosis are mild and do not require treatment, severe cases sometimes need to be addressed. Treatment options include teeth whitening, veneers, or cosmetic dentistry correction for discoloration.