Using Fluoride to Protect Your Teeth
You brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and visit the dentist every six months, but did you know that rinsing with fluoride — a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay — also helps keep your teeth healthy and strong?
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay by coating your teeth and preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth's surface.
Fluoride comes in two varieties, systemic and topical:
- Systemic fluoride is ingested, usually through a public water supply. While teeth are forming under the gums, the fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, making it stronger and more resistant to cavities.
- Fluoride can also be applied topically to help prevent caries (cavities) on teeth present in the mouth. It is delivered through toothpaste, mouthwash, and professional fluoride applications.
In-office Fluoride Varnish Treatment
A fluoride varnish treatment in our office only takes a few minutes. In the old days, fluoride was given two ways - either as a rinse where you would swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds, or you would bite down on a mouth tray filled with flouride foam for 1-3 minutes. Afterwards you would be instructed not to eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after treatment. Today fluoride is applied more quickly and easily as a varnish on all of the surfaces of your teeth. The best part is after treatment you can eat or drink right away, but just avoid eating hard, sticky and crunchy foods for 2 hours after application. This is the new standard in fluoride application with the best efficacy, and it lasts for 6 months. Depending on your oral health or your doctor's recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe an at-home fluoride product such as a mouthwash, gel, or antibacterial rinse.
How to choose the right fluoride treatment
When choosing your own at-home fluoride product (such as toothpaste or mouthwash), always check for the American Dental Association's (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined by the ADA, and approved based on safety and effectiveness. Take care of your teeth and smile bright with dental fluoride treatments!