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. Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay.
Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
- Recent history of dental decay
- Fair-to-poor oral hygiene habits
- Exposed and sensitive root surfaces
- Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth
- Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake
- Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications
Fluoride works in two ways
Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have emerged by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, which makes the teeth more resistant to decay. We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that are visible as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children through the teen years. It is essential to monitor the amount of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.
Fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay. It is crucial to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist every six months.
Call 832-804-7427 to schedule an appointment within the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area, Beaumont and Corpus Christi.