Fluoride Treatment

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral used to help prevent decay and harden enamel, the outer covering of a tooth. Fluoride is found naturally in water and in many foods. Because of its known ability to make teeth more resistant to decay, many cities and towns add it to the water supply. Pediatricians often prescribe fluoride vitamins for children under the age of six so that the fluoride is absorbed into their developing permanent teeth.

How does it work?

When plaque lies on teeth, the acids that it secretes loosens the calcium from the enamel layer of the teeth. This is known as demineralization. Remineralization occurs when minerals in the saliva move in to replace the minerals lost. When the remineralization is less than the demineralization, the tooth softens and starts to decay. Fluoride can take the place of the calcium lost during demineralization and is much harder for the bacteria’s acid to remove. Now the tooth is more resistant to decay.

When is fluoride treatment beneficial?

  • Fluoride treatment is beneficial in children because they do not always brush as well as they are supposed to and they may have a diet that is higher in sugars and carbohydrates.
  • Fluoride treatment is recommended for people with certain medical conditions that cause “dry mouth”. In these patients, the cleansing and remineralization benefit of the saliva is decreased.
  • Fluoride can be helpful in patients that have hypersensitive roots that have become exposed from gum problems or procedures.