What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which is found in some foods and drinks and it’s also added to the public water supply. It is a very important element for good dental health as it has been found to help prevent tooth decay and re-harden or repair teeth that have the very earliest signs of cavities. Fluoride is a very easy and effective way to help harden your child’s tooth enamel (strengthen tooth enamel) and to increase resistance against acids in the mouth and tooth decay bacteria. It can be obtained in two different forms which are topical and systemic.
Topical fluoride is applied directly to the teeth, for example in the form of tooth paste or mouth rinse or during fluoride treatments in our dental clinic. Systemic fluoride is swallowed, perhaps in the form of fluoridated water or as dietary fluoride supplements which we can prescribe if necessary.
When Is Fluoride Used?
Our doctor will recommend your child has additional fluoride treatments if we feel they are at risk of developing tooth decay. This might be the case if their oral hygiene is less than perfect or if they already have signs of tooth decay. Fluoride treatment can also be helpful during orthodontic treatment as fixed braces can make it tricky to thoroughly clean teeth. Some children are simply more at risk than others of developing tooth decay and we do assess every patient’s personal level of risk.
What Types of Fluoride Treatments Are Available?
Our pediatric dental office can supply a number of different fluoride treatments. The fluoride used in our dental office is much stronger than can be bought in a pharmacy or drugstore but is still completely safe for your child. Professional fluoride treatments usually only take a few minutes to complete and may be applied in the form of a solution, varnish, gel or foam.
Fluoride mouth rinse is a good way to help protect teeth at the end of a regular exam. It is swirled around the mouth for a minute before spitting out the excess. Another way to apply fluoride is in the form of mouth trays. We will put a certain amount of gel or foam into a mouth tray before placing it into your child’s mouth where it is held there for several minutes. Afterwards it’s best to make sure your child doesn’t rinse the mouth or eat or drink anything for at least half an hour afterwards in order to obtain the maximum benefits from the fluoride.
Additionally, we can give you advice on which fluoride products to use at home including instructions to help increase their effectiveness. If necessary, we can prescribe additional fluoride supplements or other fluoride products for daily use.
D1208 – Topical fluoride treatment