A key to good oral health is the application of fluoride – a mineral that helps prevent caries and can repair teeth in the very early, microscopic stages of the disease. Fluoridation and Fluoride can greatly help dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. It also reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria on your teeth produce.
Fluoride can be obtained in two forms:
- Topical fluorides are applied directly to the tooth enamel, such as in tooth paste and mouth rinses.
- Systemic fluorides are those that are swallowed, such as fluoridated water and dietary fluoride supplements.
The maximum reduction in dental caries is achieved when fluoride is available both topically and systematically. Professional fluoride treatments generally take just a few minutes and may be in the form of a solution, gel, foam, or varnish. Typically, it is applied with a cotton swab or brush, or it is used as a rinse or place in a tray that is held in the mouth for several minutes.
After a fluoridation treatment, you may be asked by our dentist not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorbs the fluoride and help repair microscopic carious areas. Depending on your oral health status, fluoride treatments may be recommended every 3, 6 or 12 months. Your dentist also may recommend additional preventive measures if you are at a moderate or high risk of developing caries.