Fluoride is the most effective mineral agent available to the dental field to help prevent all forms of tooth decay, and it’s present in almost all foods and water supplies as well, so fluoride is definitely a very useful mineral. There are many benefits to using fluoride as a dental cleaning agent, and these benefits have been well known throughout the dental industry for over 50 years.
The way in which fluoride works can be categorized in two different ways:
Topical fluoride is a type of fluoride that is used with teeth after the teeth have officially erupted in a way that the fluoride will seep deeper inside of the outer surfaces of the teeth and make the teeth much more resilient to all forms of tooth decay. We use topical fluoride when we use dental products like toothpaste, gels and a lot of forms of mouthwash. When it comes to children dental professionals recommend that kids get a professional application of topical fluoride at every dental check-up at least twice a year.
Systemic fluoride helps with already erupted teeth as well as teeth that are still hidden underneath children’s gums. This type of fluoride is also in most of our water supplies as well and it can also be prescribed by your dentist in other forms like a pill. This type of fluoride is generally used with children and babies up until they are about 18 years old, but of course like most cleaning agents it is very important to monitor how much your child ingests just so you can prevent things like fluorosis (white spots on teeth).
Fluoride is something that we all get on a pretty regular basis just through food and water, but many times your dentist will recommend that you get more professional fluoride treatments for some of the following reasons:
- You could have pits or fissures on the chewing surfaces of your teeth
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Frequent sugar and carb intake
- Exposed and sensitive root surfaces
- Not enough fluorides
- Not enough saliva flow, possibly due to medical conditions
- Tooth decay
It’s really important to keep in mind that fluoride is not the end all be all towards getting rid of tooth decay and that brushing at least twice a day and flossing regularly, as well as avoiding unhealthy sugar snacks, and of course regular visits to your dentist, are all necessary towards decreasing chances of tooth decay.