Fluoride is known as nature's cavity fighter, coming from the element fluorine. It can be applied topically to teeth. It can also be ingested orally, known as systemic fluoride, when teeth are developing. Systemic fluoride can be obtained through the water supply as well as through certain drinks, supplements, teas and bottled water. It is absorbed through the gastrointestinal system and then distributed through the body via the blood stream.
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and through a process known as remineralization, can repair damage that has occurred to tooth enamel. Our Los Angeles dentist often uses mouthpieces filled with fluoride gel to help patients with sensitive teeth.
Fluoride gel can be topically applied twice per year. When this is combined with regular brushing and teeth cleaning, teeth will be healthy, clean and bright. You may want to check with our Los Angeles dentist today about having your teeth properly evaluated in order to prevent future dental problems.
Topical fluoride can be found in a number of products, including toothpaste and mouth rinses. Topical foams and gels placed in fluoride trays are often applied to children's teeth after a professional cleaning in the dental office.
Fluoride varnish is also used at our office, which is a newer procedure that has long been performed in Europe. It’s a safe and effective way of applying fluoride topically and has been proven to fight dental decay. At-home regimens can also be used that are very beneficial for individuals with a high risk of cavities.
Fluoride varnish has certain advantages. It’s simple to apply and decreases the amount of fluoride that is ingested. It will also continue to be absorbed into tooth enamel for approximately one full day after application. Fluoride varnish works very well for children and special needs patients who may not be able to tolerate fluoride trays in the mouth. Fluoride treatments are especially beneficial to children who are at a higher risk for developing dental decay due to high sucrose carbohydrate diets, the wearing of certain orthodontic appliances or medical conditions such as dry mouth.
For the most part, fluoride is safe. Any health risks would be due to over concentration and misuse. If you’re concerned about the amount of fluoridation that may be in your drinking water, you may want to call your local water or health department to inquire or have the water evaluated to be sure you are not overly exposed to fluoride.