Flouride has been held in high regard by the dental community for decades. It helps to prevent tooth decay by absorbing into tooth enamel.
In most U.S. communities, public drinking water is supplemented with sodium flouride because the practice is acknowledged as safe and effective in fighting cavities.
Remineralization is the term used to describe the process in your body that uses flouride to repair damage caused by decay. Flouride is absorbed into teeth and bones, making them stronger and more resistant to fractures and decay.
The fluoride treatments you receive in a dental office have more fluoride than over-the-counter fluoride mouthwash or toothpaste. They are used for both children and adults. Dental-office treatments also are different chemically and stay on the teeth longer.
There are two common types of professionally applied fluorides. Acidulated phosphate fluoride (APF) is acidic; neutral sodium fluoride is not. Neutral sodium fluoride usually is used for people who have dry mouth (xerostomia) or who have tooth-colored fillings, crowns, or bridges. An acidic fluoride may irritate a mouth that is dry. It also can create small pits in composite fillings.
Fluoride is applied as a gel, foam or varnish during a dental appointment. The teeth are dried so the fluoride doesn’t become diluted. Fluoride can be applied by using a tray that looks like a mouth guard for one to four minutes. Fluoride also can be painted directly on the teeth. It comes in a variety of flavors, but it should never be swallowed.
Flouride Supplements are usually used in children that are not exposed to a flouridated water source. They are taken in small quantities. The daily dose ranges from 0.25 to 1 milligram. The amount is based on the child’s age and the amount of fluoride in the water he or she drinks. St. Lucie County water is flouridated, but some areas of Martin County are not.
Dentists do not prescribe more than 264 milligrams of fluoride tablets at a time. That’s because the toxic dose of fluoride for a 2-year-old child weighing 22 pounds is 320 milligrams. To avoid any chance of overdose, do not stock up on fluoride tablets. If you have any questions regarding fluoride risks, talk to your dentist or physician.
Everyone should use fluoridated toothpaste. Be careful with young children. They are more likely to swallow the toothpaste than to spit it out. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when they brush. Encourage them to spit out as much as possible. Avoid flavored toothpastes that may encourage swallowing.