Tooth Decay Mira Mesa - Fluoride - Types and Benefits
Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is
naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years
and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
Fluoride works in two ways:
Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by
seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride
containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children
have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as
well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies.
It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride
drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years. It is very important to monitor the
amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white
spots on the teeth) may result.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help
prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following
Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or
Recent history of dental decay.
Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay!
It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your
dentist on a regular basis.
If you have any additional questions, please contact our office