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Topical Fluoride, Fluoride Varnish, and Fluoride Supplements
Fluoride is a naturally occurring element in your teeth. It helps to provide the enamel of your teeth with strength, preventing the erosion caused by the acids produced by plaque and bacteria. Fluoride, along with other minerals like calcium and phosphate, is lost every day through a process called demineralization. Just like other minerals, fluoride can also be replaced. Replacing lost fluoride is essential for keeping your teeth strong so that they can effectively fight off acid erosion. There are several ways in which this can be done and The Elmwood Dental Group LLC can help.
Why Is Fluoride Important?
Demineralization of your teeth is a natural process that occurs every day. It occurs when the acids produced by plaque and oral bacteria attack the enamel layer of your teeth. Teeth can also be remineralized, reversing the effects. However, if more demineralization that remineralization occurs, this is when tooth decay occurs.
Fluoride is an essential element in helping to remineralize the teeth. When restored to the tooth enamel, it helps to provide strength against acid attacks, keeping the teeth strong and healthy. There are a few different ways in which fluoride can be restored to the teeth.
One way of restoring fluoride to the teeth is topical. Topical fluoride is found in oral care products, including toothpaste and mouthwashes. There are also gels that can be applied at home. Fluoride toothpaste is the most commonly used form of topical fluoride. Topical fluorides are taken up by the teeth and the saliva. Concentrations in topical fluorides are generally on the lower side but using them as recommended can often help to keep the teeth healthy and prevent the formation of decay and cavities.
We can also provide fluoride varnish treatments in our office. Varnish is a gel treatment that is painted onto the surfaces of the teeth. The fluoride in varnish treatments is absorbed directly into the tooth enamel. The varnish does not need to be rinsed off. The dental team will provide any post-op instructions as needed. The concentrations in these professionally applied treatments are generally higher and two applications a year are generally enough to provide protection. While commonly associated with children, fluoride varnish can also be effective for adults as well.
Fluoride is also available as a supplement. Most tap water that is treated contains a certain concentration of fluoride, which helps to ensure people get fluoride in their diet. Fluoride is also available as a dietary supplement. Fluoride that is ingested enters the bloodstream and also becomes part of the saliva.
Fluoride supplements are often recommended for children six months to 16 years who are at risk for tooth decay, and who may not have treated water. For young children, fluoride is important for protecting baby teeth as well as for the development of the adult teeth. Fluoride supplements are prescribed, and dosages are based on the age of your child and the concentration of fluoride in your water.
Can You Get Too Much Fluoride?
While fluoride is essential for strengthening your teeth and preventing the formation of tooth decay and cavities, it is possible to get too much. A potential risk of too much fluoride is fluorosis. This is a condition that occurs when too much fluoride is ingested during the development of baby and adult teeth. Fluorosis cannot occur once the permanent teeth have developed. It varies in appearance from white spots on the teeth to having stains and pits in the enamel. You can help to minimize the risk of fluorosis in your child by storing toothpaste out of reach and monitoring your child when they brush.
With fluoride, your teeth are better able to fight off the acids produced by plaque and bacteria, helping you to prevent tooth decay and cavities. Call The Elmwood Dental Group LLC today at (860) 331-8748 to learn more and find out what fluoride options are right for you.