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Fluoride Treatment and Supplementary Intake

By  , Expert Content
Jan 16, 2013
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Fluoride is a natural mineral. It is present in the earth's crust, in nature and certain foods and water. It has been shown to prevent tooth decay by strengthening teeth. To prevent tooth decay it is best to use several sources of fluoride. Currently it is recommended that drinking water should have fluoride owing to its effect on tooth decay. Besides this brushing regularly with a fluoride containing toothpaste is advised. If fluoride is deficient in water supplemental fluoride tablets are recommended for children.

 

What It's Used For

 

Enamel is the outer part of crown of the teeth. Crown is the part of the teeth that is seen in the mouth. Demineralization and remineralization of the crown of the teeth (inside the enamel) naturally occurs in your mouth. The acid that is formed in the mouth after eating dissolves the calcium and phosphorous under the tooth's surface. When the saliva becomes less acidic, calcium and phosphorous are deposited (remineralization) on the teeth to keep your teeth hard. If excessive demineralization occurs without adequate remineralization to repair the enamel of the tooth it causes tooth decay. In presence of fluoride calcium and phosphorous are deposited much better than they would otherwise be. This helps to strengthen your teeth better.

 

Fluoride is incorporated into teeth from

 

  • Fluoride that is consumed in small doses (through food, supplements or fluoridated water),

 

  • Fluoride that is applied on the teeth such as when you brush with fluoride toothpaste or use a fluoride rinse or when it is applied by the dentist

 

Fluoride treatment is often prescribed for children when their teeth are developing especially if your child has cavities or is at high risk of developing cavities. The extra fluoride such as fluoride mouth rinses can promote remineralization.

 

According to newer studies everyone benefits from fluoride. Initial studies suggested that fluoride was beneficial for strengthening of teeth in children (while they were still developing). But recent research has shown that topical fluoride use (fluoride that is present toothpastes, mouth rinses) and fluoride treatment helps to prevent tooth decay in people of all ages. Therefore everyone should use fluoridated toothpaste.

 

Preparation

 

Before fluoride treatment at the clinic the dentist will clean your teeth and if required polish the teeth. At home before using fluoride rinses or gels you should properly brush and floss your teeth. Use fluoride products preferably before going to bed at night.

 

How It's Done


Fluoride treatments given by your dentist has a higher concentration of fluoride as compared to the fluoride toothpaste or mouthwashes. Besides this fluoride treatment given by the dentist stay on the teeth for a longer time.

 

Your dentist may use

 

  • Acidulated phosphate fluoride (APF), which is acidic, or

 

  • Neutral sodium fluoride (this is not acidic). It is preferred for people who have dry mouth (xerostomia), tooth-colored fillings, crowns or bridges. APF can irritate dry tissues or cause formation of small pits in tooth fillings.

 

In dental-office fluoride treatment is applied as a paint, foam or varnish. You will be advised to avoid eating, drinking or smoking for about 30 minutes after it. You should not swallow the fluoride applied on the teeth.

 

Consult your dentist or pediatrician for fluoride supplement for your child. He or she may prescribe fluoride tablets or drops and give your child the supplement as recommended by your doctor.

 

Follow-Up

 

You will be advised to avoid eating, drinking or smoking for about 30 minutes after it. You should not swallow the fluoride applied on the teeth.

 

Risks

 

Like any other medication fluoride is safe and useful when used at the recommended dose but can be unsafe and harmful at high doses. Parents should not keep fluoride tablets within a child’s reach at home and must monitor the use of all fluoride products such as toothpaste, fluoride tablets.

 

Toxic dose of fluoride depends on the weight of the person. However toxicity of fluoride with fluoride products at home is unlikely as fluoride is present in these products in very small amounts. Consult your doctor for your child’s fluoride supplement.

 

When To Call A Professional

 

Consult your dentist or pediatrician for fluoride supplement for your child. He or she may prescribe fluoride tablets or drops. Give your child the supplement as recommended by your doctor. Inform your dentist or dental hygienist regarding the fluoride products you are using.

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