Fluoride is a mineral that helps harden the tooth surface and prevent future decay. In fact, Fluoride can reverse beginning cavities or weak spots on the teeth! There are several forms of Fluoride.
The most common source of Fluoride is through drinking water. The water in most communities is fluoridated and regulated so that we receive a minimal amount that is safe for daily drinking but still very beneficial in fighting tooth decay. It is of most benefit when the enamel is forming, thus when we are children. People living in rural areas can have their water tested to find out how much Fluoride is in their water. It is recommended that level be 1ppm (1 part per million).
Toothpaste usually contains Fluoride, but not always. Check the label for the type and concentration of Fluoride. Many toddler toothpastes and “all natural” toothpastes do not have Fluoride in them. For toddlers, it is not recommended until a child can spit it out instead of swallowing. This is because repetitive swallowing that concentration of Fluoride can have adverse effects. Brushing with Fluoridated toothpaste should be for 2 minutes.
Oral rinses are also a good source of Fluoride. There are specific types that contain Fluoride but not many over-the-counter rinses do, so you must read the ingredients or label to be sure. It is recommended to swish for one minute, but if the patient is unable to do a full minute, then it is alright to do 2 – 30 second swishes back to back.
In-office Fluoride Treatments are given at varying frequencies. It is applied to the teeth after a prophylaxis (cleaning and polish) and is very concentrated so it’s like a big boost of the Fluoride. In its varnish form, the Fluoride is slowly released over several months. For most patients it is recommended every 6 months, but for the high decay risk patients it is recommended every 3 months.
Prescription Fluoride is generally a toothpaste/gel with 5 times more Fluoride compared with over-the-counter types. Our office carries it for purchase, but it can also be purchased at a pharmacy with a prescription.
Ask your hygienist or dentist what they would recommend for your individual needs. Feel free to call us anytime at 712-239-5125