Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral found in water and in many foods, has been proven to help prevent tooth decay in children and adults. Its safety and effectiveness prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to designate community water fluoridation one of ten great public health achievements during the 20th century.
Fluoride provides both systemic and topical benefits; before teeth erupt through the gums, fluoride makes tooth enamel stronger and more resistant to decay. After teeth erupt, fluoride helps rebuild weakened enamel, and can reverse early signs of decay. The use of fluoride toothpaste and other dental products provides a layer of protection on the teeth, helping fight plaque bacteria and sugars that can destroy tooth enamel.
Infants and children between 6 months and 16 years of age benefit greatly from fluoride treatments, as this is the time their primary and permanent teeth are coming in. Patients with increased risk of tooth decay are also candidates for additional fluoride treatments; this includes those with dry mouth conditions, which can be caused by certain medications (antihistamines, anti-anxiety and high blood pressure drugs, and allergy medicine). Patients with gum disease, braces, bridges, crowns, or a history of frequent cavities should also consider fluoride treatment.
It’s recommended that children have a professional fluoride application twice a year during regular dental check-ups. It’s available as a supplement, in gel, tablet, or drop form, prescribed by your dentist. Fluoride intake must be monitored in children to avoid development of white spots on the teeth (fluorosis).
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, but works best in conjunction with twice-daily brushing and flossing. It’s important to eat healthy meals, and to limit sugary snacks. Visit your dentist twice each year for regular check-ups. For more information about fluoride treatments, please contact:
Mark D. Weinhold, DDS
1 East Countyline Road, Suite A
Sandwich, IL 60548
Phone: (815) 786-2185