Fluoride is a natural mineral best known to prevent tooth decay. Fluoridation of food and water supplies is a regular process, which purifies and kills harmful germs and bacteria. The benefits of fluoride were discovered more than fifty years ago and many healthcare professionals and organizations support the use of the mineral as a means to prevent tooth deterioration.
There are two types of fluoride:
Topical fluoride is used when teeth have erupted by leaking into the outside of the tooth enamel. The use of topical fluoride strengthens the teeth after eruption by creating stronger and more resilient teeth. Topical fluoride is used through dental products such gels, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Dentists advise the professional application of fluoride for children during their biannual dental check-ups.
Systemic fluoride not only fortifies the teeth that have erupted, but also supports tooth formation under the gum. Systemic fluoride is found in most foods and clean water supply. Your healthcare provider can also prescribe fluoride supplements in the form of liquid or gel. Tablets are ideal for children, while infants are advised to take droplets. Take cautionary steps to monitor the amounts of fluoride ingestion in order to prevent fluorosis (white stains on the teeth).
At times systemic fluoride may not suffice and your dentist may advise the use of home or specialized fluoride treatments for:
- Inadequate oral hygiene habits.
- Excessive intake of carbs and sugar.
- Bare and delicate root surfaces.
- Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
- Insufficient exposure to fluorides.
- Insufficient saliva flow.
- Current dental decay history.
Caution: Tooth decay will not stop with Fluoride alone! It is vital to brush your teeth and floss at least twice daily, eat healthy meals, decrease sugary foods, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.