Sealants Don’t Take The Place Of Fluoride…
Both materials are designed to preserve and prolong the life of your teeth through prevention of dental decay. They act quite differently, however. Sealants are applied topically only to certain areas of individual teeth, and are a visible sign that the tooth is being protected.
Fluoride, however, may be used effectively from prenatal stages through the adolescent period (that’s when kids are at their highest cavity-prone age). Unlike sealants, fluoride is supplied in a variety of forms, including:
- Topical application to your teeth during a routine dental exam and cleaning (in a gel or solution)
- Drinking water where fluoride has been added
- Prescribed nutritional supplements (useful in areas where drinking water does not contain fluoride)
- Commercially prepared mouth rinses used at home
- Numerous toothpastes
FAQ'S Regarding Fluoride
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. Fluoride is also used in many consumer dental products such as toothpaste and fluoride mouth rinses.
How does fluoride reduce tooth decay?
Fluoride acts in two ways: topically and systemically. Topical fluorides strengthen teeth that have already erupted into the mouth. As the fluoride washes over the tooth surface, it is incorporated into the outer surface of the tooth, making it more resistant to decay.
Systemic fluorides are those that are ingested through food and water and are used by the body as teeth are formed. Systemic fluorides, if ingested regularly during tooth formation, will be deposited throughout the developing layer of enamel, creating a stronger, more decay resistant outer layer.
How can I get fluoride?
Topical fluoride comes from use of fluoride containing toothpastes, mouth rinses, and gels, which are placed directly onto the teeth. Children are routinely provided with topical fluoride applications at their dental checkup visits, as this is one of the most effective ways of providing the benefits of topical fluoride to newly erupted teeth.
Systemic fluoride is available through community water supplies that either have naturally occurring levels of fluoride that are optimal or have had fluoride added to reach optimal levels. Remember, in order for fluoride to exert systemic benefits, it must be ingested. So, if you do not live in a community with fluoridated water, consult your dentist or physician about the need for another method of fluoride supplementation.
If some fluoride is good, is more fluoride better?
The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by numerous health and professional organizations. However, as with nearly all substances we ingest, there are levels that are safe, levels that are optimal, and levels that can cause negative effects. When fluoride is ingested above optimal levels, a condition called dental fluorosis can result. While dental fluorosis is not harmful, it may cause discoloration, or white spots, on your child’s teeth.
Parents should be aware of the sources of systemic fluoride their child receives. If your community water supply is fluoridated, then that will supply the optimal amount of systemic fluoride and tablets or vitamins should not be ingested. Additionally, young children (those who cannot spit after brushing their teeth) should not use toothpaste to ensure that unmeasured amounts of fluoride are not ingested.
What to remember?
Fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay; it is only one of the tools necessary for maintaining strong teeth and positive oral health. Remember to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, floss daily, eat a balanced diet, and limit the frequency of snacking, especially sweet and sticky foods. Just as important, visit us regularly and follow our recommendations for your family’s optimal oral health.
Biannual application of fluoride significantly reduces caries in teeth.
A Final Note…
If you have any further questions about FLOURIDES, please ask us. Fluorides are a proven technique that may be suitable for preventing decay. Our goal is to help preserve smile over your child’s face throughout a lifetime, and fluorides help make that possible.