Say Yes to Fluoride
When it comes to maintaining strong and healthy teeth, brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups are well-known practices. However, there's a silent contributor to oral health that often goes unnoticed: fluoride. I consistently encourage my patients to receive regular high-dose fluoride applications at our dental office and to use fluoridated toothpaste. This natural mineral has played a crucial role in preventing tooth decay and promoting overall dental well-being for decades. Fluoride prevents tooth decay by strengthening teeth and making them more resistant to acid attacks. It also helps slow down or stop the decay process. I have compiled a list of the numerous benefits of fluoride for our teeth.
Strengthening Tooth Enamel
Fluoride is renowned for its ability to strengthen tooth enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth. Enamel is susceptible to erosion from acids produced by bacteria and acids from foods and drinks. Fluoride helps remineralize enamel, making it more resistant to acid attacks and reducing the risk of cavities. By incorporating fluoride into your oral care routine, you're giving your teeth an extra layer of defense against decay.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Tooth decay occurs when acids produced by bacteria break down the minerals in tooth enamel, leading to cavities. Fluoride disrupts this process by attracting minerals like calcium and phosphate, which then remineralize weakened enamel. This not only repairs early stages of tooth decay but also prevents the progression of cavities, ultimately preserving your natural teeth and avoiding more extensive dental procedures.
Benefiting All Ages
Fluoride's benefits extend across all age groups. For children, fluoride is essential during the development of permanent teeth to ensure they emerge strong and resistant to decay. For adults, it continues to play a role in preserving enamel strength and preventing cavities. Additionally, elderly individuals, who might be more prone to oral health issues due to medication use or dry mouth, can also benefit from the protective effects of fluoride.
Cost-Effective Dental Care
Incorporating fluoride into your dental care routine is a cost-effective way to prevent oral health problems in the long run. Regular dental treatments and procedures for cavities or more severe dental issues can be expensive. By preventing the need for such treatments through the use of fluoride, you're not only protecting your oral health but also saving money.
Fluoride is readily available in toothpaste, mouthwash, and even tap water in many communities. Typical fluoridated toothpaste on the market contains fluoride in the range of 1000 ppm to 1500 ppm, while toothpaste for children (under age 6) contains less than 1000 ppm of fluoride. Mouth rinse with fluoride may contain fluoride ranging from 200 ppm to 500 ppm. Since Metro Vancouver ceased water fluoridation in 2011, the regular application of fluoride at dental offices and the use of fluoridated toothpaste are crucial for preventing dental decay.
Here is a list of fluoridated toothpaste available on the market that we can easily purchase:
Tom's of Maine
Dentists provide professional fluoride treatments in the form of a highly concentrated rinse, foam, gel, or varnish. At Dentudio Dentists, we offer patients a fluoridated varnish containing sodium fluoride (2.26% or 22,600 ppm fluoride). Tooth decay is one of the most common preventable diseases in children. Fluoride varnish can reduce cavities by up to 40%. The process involves applying a varnish with high fluoride levels to the tooth's surface twice a year to prevent decay. This method ensures that fluoride stays on the teeth, preventing ingestion. Additionally, it maintains prolonged contact with the teeth, enhancing its effectiveness.
Fluoride allergy is a topic of debate and discussion within the medical and dental communities. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support the existence of true allergic reactions to fluoride. True allergies to fluoride are extremely rare. The vast majority of people do not experience allergic reactions to fluoride. Allergies are specific immune responses to certain substances, and while some individuals might experience skin sensitivity or irritation from fluoride in certain dental products or treatments, these reactions are typically not classified as true allergies. It's important to note that information in the medical field can change over time as new research emerges. If you have concerns about a fluoride allergy, it's advisable to consult with medical professionals or allergists who can provide you with the most up-to-date and accurate information based on current research and clinical experience. Also, seek advice from dentists regarding alternative methods of prevention instead of using fluoride.
Ultimately, maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, alongside the benefits of fluoride, can contribute to a lifetime of healthy smiles. So, embrace fluoride as a valuable tool in your dental care routine and consult with your dentist for personalized advice on how to make the most of its benefits for your oral health.
If you'd like to learn more about fluoridation or have concerns, schedule a consultation with Dentudio Dentists today for expert guidance.
Posted by Dr. Gloria Jung, DDS, BSc