New Look Dental November Newsletter
What is fluoride? Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally occurring in water and certain foods. The main benefit of fluoride is to prevent tooth decay. On a daily basis we lose and gain minerals from the enamel layer on our teeth. Acids are formed in our mouth from sugar and bacteria which then attach to the tooth surface. Minerals like fluoride and calcium help redeposit or remineralize the enamel layer of our teeth, thus protecting them from decay and damage. Fluoride has been shown to reduce cavities in children by 60%, just by the use of fluoridated drinking water.
Why are fluoride treatments important for your child? For children six and under, fluoride assists in the development of their adult teeth. The most critical time for fluoride intake is between 6 months and 16 years. That’s not to say that adults don’t need fluoride, too, but because this is the time when the primary and permanent teeth come in, it is crucial.
Fluoride treatments are quick and easy, and can be included in your child’s regular exam! The fluoride preparation in the dentist office is a much higher concentration than in at-home toothpastes and fluoride rinses. Fluoride at the dentist office comes in many different forms, from gels, to foams, solutions and varnishes. It’s generally applied with a cotton swab, used as a rinse, or put in a tray to be put in the mouth for several minutes. After the treatment, your child will be asked not to eat or drink for thirty minutes to allow the teeth to fully absorb the treatment. Depending on your child’s oral health status, treatments may need to be repeated every three, six, or twelve months.
Children aren’t the only people who benefit from fluoride, however. New research indicates that topical fluoride are also important in strengthening teeth. Furthermore, those with dry mouth conditions, gum disease, history of frequent cavities, or the presence of crowns/bridges or braces, can benefit from additional fluoride treatments.