If you’re wondering, “what is dental fluoride?”, you’re not the only one. This odourless and colourless salt has many uses in our society but is rarely discussed in-depth.
Fluoride is a natural mineral found throughout the earth’s crust and is widely distributed in nature. It can be found in water, soil, plants, rocks, our food and even in the air.
Due to its ability to increase bone mass, it is also produced synthetically for use in drinking water, toothpaste, mouthwashes and various chemical products.
It has also been used as an experimental treatment for osteoporosis.
Fluoride and Health Benefits
Fluoride has many health benefits, one of the primary benefits being that it promotes new bone formation. This benefit of fluoride has been extensively researched since the 1930s.
In the 1930s, researchers found that people who grew up drinking naturally fluoridated water had up to two-thirds fewer cavities than people living in areas without fluoridated water.
This observation has since led to fluoride intentionally being used in drinking water and in dentistry.
How Is Fluoride Treatment Used in Dentistry?
Dentists apply professional fluoride treatments to help patients who may be at risk for cavities.
These professional fluoride treatments are applied with a swab, brush, tray, or mouthwash in the form of a highly concentrated rinse, foam, gel, or varnish. Kids often opt for a flavoured fluoride treatment.
What Is Dental Fluoride Used for in Dentistry
Dental fluoride can help prevent cavities by strengthening tooth enamel.
When bacteria in your mouth break down sugar and carbs, they produce acids that eat away at the minerals in your tooth enamel. This loss of minerals is called demineralization. Weakened tooth enamel leaves your teeth vulnerable to bacteria that cause cavities.
Fluoride helps to re-mineralize your tooth enamel, which can prevent cavities and reverse early signs of tooth decay.
What Is Dental Fluoride: Its Effects on Children
Fluoride concentrates in the growing bones and developing teeth of children, helping to harden the enamel on baby and adult teeth before they emerge.
If your child’s main source of tap water is not fluoridated, your child’s dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements. These supplements come either as drops or tablets and are taken orally. The amount of fluoride that is prescribed is based on the child’s age and amount of fluoride in their drinking water.
It’s important for your family dentist to be aware of your child’s fluoride intake before prescribing fluoride supplements. If your child has too much fluoride, this can increase your child’s risk of getting dental fluorosis.
Dental fluorosis is the appearance of faint white lines or streaks on the teeth that only occurs when younger children consume too much fluoride, from any source, over long periods when teeth are developing under the gums. Once a child’s adult teeth come in, they are no longer at risk for dental fluorosis.
Fluoride Toothpaste and Fluoride Treatment
If your drinking water is fluoridated, then brushing regularly with fluoride toothpaste is considered sufficient for adults and children with healthy teeth who have a low risk of decay.
However, if your community’s water is not fluoridated and does not have enough natural fluoride in it (1 part per million is considered optimal), you may be at a risk for tooth decay.
Other factors that may put you at a risk for tooth decay include:
- High sugar-intake
- Taking medications that increase dry mouth
- Old age
- Poor oral care
If you are at high risk for tooth cavities, your dentist may give you a professional fluoride treatment at the dental office or prescribe you fluoride tablets or drops to take daily at home.
Fluoride Treatment West Kelowna
Visit our True Dental office for your fluoride treatment in West Kelowna. Our highly trained team can identify oral health issues early on so that they don’t become bigger and far more serious health issues in the future. Let us help you detect early symptoms of decay which may be treatable with dental fluoride.
Want to learn more about dental fluoride treatment? Book an appointment with True Dental West Kelowna today!
This post originally appeared on truedental.ca