is the most common disease in America. One way to help prevent this
disease from occurring is through the use of fluoride.
Fluoride helps harden
the tooth enamel and make it more resistant to tooth decay. A small
cavity can be stopped and even reversed by the remineralization process
enhanced by fluoride.
Fluoride can be delivered
to the teeth in 2 ways; topically (direct contact on the teeth) and
systemically (enters the blood stream).
Systemic fluoride is
delivered to the tooth surface via the bloodstream. Systemic fluoride
can be derived from a food source, water source, or dietary supplements
( pill, tablet, lozenge, drop ). Fluoridated water is an effective
way to reduce the problem of dental decay.
It has been shown that
fluoridated water and dietary supplements can reduce up to 60 % of
Some water supplies
already naturally contain fluoride, for others, fluoride is intentionally
added to the water supply. Some communities have no fluoride in their
water. Other communities are unaware of this option.
If you would like to
know if your community's water supply contains fluoride, call your
local water or health department.
Children from birth
to 14 years of age will benefit the most from systemic fluoride. This
is because when fluoride is ingested, it circulates through the bloodstream
and into developing teeth. The fluoride is then built into the enamel
structure of the developing tooth, making the tooth more resistant
Even though the benefits
of fluoride are maximized before the teeth erupt (come in), fluoride
is still very beneficial for children and adults after the teeth are
Topical fluorides are
applied directly to the tooth structure to delay or slow down the
tooth decay process.
Topical forms of fluoride
- toothpaste - used daily, must
have an ADA or CDA Seal of Acceptance on the label
fluoride application - this is a
gel that is applied for 1 to 4 minutes, usually in a tray at the
end of a dental appointment. Not everyone is given a professional
fluoride application, it depends on your oral health needs.
home mouthrinses -
can be purchased over-the-counter for children over 6 years of age,
and adults who are susceptible to cavities.
- home care
fluoride gels - applied by trays or by brush, these
gels are for those who are highly susceptible to cavities. These
people would include;
with a high incidence of root cavities
-those who experience
an extremely dry mouth
-people who wear
braces or orthodontic appliances
-those who have
rampant or excessive cavities
can be bought over-the-counter or by prescription.
Seek the advice
of your dental hygienist or dentist for a daily home fluoride program
that is individualized for your needs.
- Fluoride is very
effective in controlling dental decay when used properly. If not
used in the proper doses, fluoride toxicity and dental fluorosis
- Fluoride toxicity
is when large amounts of fluoride are ingested during a short period
of time. This can be dangerous to your health.