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Fluoride is a naturally-occuring mineral that is found in our oceans, rivers, and lakes and is currently one of the biggest fighters we have in combating dental cavities. According the the American Dental Association, adequate fluoride exposure decreases the risk of dental cavities up to 60% in both children and adults. Therefore it shouldn't be a surprise to hear that our team highly recommends fluoride treatment during your dental cleanings and visits!
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride works by strengthening the enamel (the top layer of your tooth) so that it is more resistant to acid attacks caused by plaque. Plaque can be made through the consumption of sugary foods and drinks such as chips, candy, milk and bread. Bacteria is found in plaque and creates these acid attacks by feeding on these sugary foods/drinks that are consumed. When acid attacks are frequent, it can demineralize the enamel and if the enamel is damaged enough it can cause tooth decay. Fluoride helps to neutralize these acid attacks and restore early enamel damage so that the chances of your tooth developing a cavity is lower.
Is Fluoride In The Water Safe?
Fluoride has become so important in preventing dental decay that it has even been implemented in our water system and has been for the past 70 years! In fact, the Center of Disease Control has deemed water fluoridation to be one of our greatest public health achievements in the last few years. No scientific evidence has been found in linking fluoride to causing adverse effects to health. Fluoride has been approved and recommended by many organizations including: the U.S. Surgeons General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Dental Association, the Consumers Union, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, and the American Cancer Society.
Ever since water fluoridation was put into effect, it has reduced the rates of dental decay. Before water fluoridation, almost every child had severe dental decay but after water fluoridation was introduced, dental decay had reductions of about 60%. In 1987, a study was conducted in water fluoridated communities in North Carolina and showed that more than 50% of children had no signs of dental decay.
Today, fluoride is available over the counter in toothpaste, mouthrinses, and in dietary supplments. It is also now a big treatment tool that dentists and hygienest use to prevent dental decay from occuring.
Is Fluoride Dangerous For My Health And Teeth?
No, fluoride has not been shown to have any adverse effects on health. The Center of Disease Control states that fluoride is a safe and effective for use. In fact, without fluoride you are more susceptible to cavities. In children, cavities left untreated can affect crowns of adult teeth, causes infection that can be life-threatening, and can decrease quality of life.
However, overexposure to fluoride can cause a dental condition called dental fluorsis. Fluorosis is mainly cosmetic and does not effect dental function. It causes the appearance of the enamel to change and, in most cases, can appear as white spots that are barely noticeable. In more severe cases these spots can be grey or brown and may have pitting. Fluorosis normally occurs in children 8 years or younger when the permanent teeth are still developing. One of the most common causes of fluorosis results from a child swallowing fluoridated toothpaste. Therefore, it is very important for young children to be supervised while brushing their teeth and to ensure that they are spitting and not swallowing toothpaste. Ask our team if you are concerned about the amount of fluoride in your water or in your dental products and if you are concerned you or your child has fluoriss or is at risk of flurosis. Our dentist will perform a careful assessment can provide adequate counseling and a treatment plan for you.
Topical Fluorides Our Doctor May Prescribe:
If you are a good candidate, our doctor may prescribe a mouthrinse, toothpaste or fluoride varnish for you during your treatment. Fluroide varnish treatments are professionally applied and are offered in office. They are a great supplement with dental cleanings since they give more strength to teeth by making the enamel surface harder and more resistant to dental decay. In fact, the American Dental Association as well as the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry states that fluoride varnish is great at preventing dental decay and recommends routine treatments. Fluoride varnish treatments are affordable, easy to apply, and extremely effective.
Fluoride varnish should be used every 6 months and should be applied as soon as the eruption of their first baby tooth begins.
What Is The Procedure Like For Applying Fluoride Varnish?
It's easy! Our team will first dry your teeth with a piece of cotton gauze and then will use a brush to paint on the varnish. The varnish will be applied to most tooth surfaces but we will generally skip crowns or any other artificial appliance fixed in your mouth. No trays and no foams are needed. The procedure takes only a few minutes, doesn't require any anesthesia and is painless!
Things To Avoid After Treatment
Do not eat or drink anything at least 30 minutes after the treatment is finished
Avoid hot, crunchy, sticky or hard foods for at least 6 hours after your treatment
You generally can take the night off with brushing your teeth since we would like the fluoride to stay on the teeth for as long as possible