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 seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. Examples of topical fluoride include toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dr. Day generally recommends that children 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. Systemic fluoride is found in foods and in our community water supply. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and is prescribed by your dentist or physician. Supplemental fluoride is generally only recommended for children who are not receiving sufficient fluoride through their community water supply.
Dr. Day and his team 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 to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit our office a regular basis.
Day Family Dental
Dr. Nathan Day, DMD • Dentist • Lansing, MI