The greatest breakthrough in preventive dentistry during the last fifty years has been the use of fluoride.
Almost all water naturally contains some fluoride. About two – thirds of American cities add additional fluoride to the water supply for the prevention of tooth decay. In fact, fluoridation of public water systems can reduce cavities in baby teeth by 60 percent and those in permanent teeth by 35 percent.
The benefits of fluoride
There are many benefits in the use of fluoride for people of all ages. When children are young and their teeth are forming, fluoride joins the enamels surface and makes it harder and more resistance to decay.
The benefits for adults are just as great. Fluoride can help repair an early cavity, even before it’s visible in the mouth, by rebuilding the enamel layer of the teeth. Fluoride is also helpful in older adults, to help solve the problem of cavities in the tooth root or root sensitivity.
Sources of fluoride
We recommend fluoride toothpaste for all of our patients. We may also recommend additional sources of fluoride for you to use at home. This includes fluoride drops, tablets, or prescription toothpaste. Fluoride rinses or gels are sometimes prescribed to help eliminate germs that cause gum diseases.
We may also apply fluoride to your teeth immediately following a dental cleaning in our office. A topical gel is applied with the use of a tray or with a cotton applicator directly on the teeth.
Fluoride is an important part of every prevention program. When combined with the good dental habits of brushing and flossing, the number of cavities in children and adults can be dramatically reduced.