Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral compound that is effective in preventing tooth decay. Fluoride is present is water and soil and also food and beverages in varying concentrations. Demineralization (losing of minerals) of the tooth’s enamel occurs due to the attack of acids formed as a result of plaque bacteria and sugar in the mouth. Remineralization (accumulation of minerals such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate) occurs from the water and foods consumed. If demineralization is more without enough remineralization, it may lead to tooth decay.
Fluoride helps easy remineralization thus disrupting acid production and tooth decay. Fluoride is available in foods and water. Apart from that they are available in over the counter toothpaste and mouth rinses. In case your teeth needs further protection fluoride treatment can be done in a dentist’s office in the form of gel, foam or varnish. Gels are painted or applied onto a mouth-guard, foams are put into a mouth guard and varnish is painted on the teeth.
Ideal Candidate for Fluoride Application
Exposure to fluoride is very important for infants and children in the age group of 6 months to 16 years as this is the time when primary and permanent teeth come in. It is also as important in adults to fight tooth decay and strengthen teeth as it is in children. Adults with a history of frequent cavities or experiencing gum disease, dry mouth conditions or patients who have braces, crowns or bridges in their mouth are at an increased risk of cavities and may benefit from fluoride application.
Children may ingest too much of fluoride which may lead to a harmless condition known as dental fluorosis characterized by visible chalky white specks on the teeth or brown stained enamel. For this reason it is highly important to supervise children while using fluoride containing products like toothpastes and mouthwashes to ensure minimal ingestion of fluoride.
Talk to one of our dentists to know more about fluoride application and whether it would be beneficial for you and your child.