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Fluoride treatment stands as the most effective method available to prevent tooth decay. This natural mineral is found in varying amounts in most foods and water supplies. Its benefits have been widely recognized for over half a century and are endorsed by numerous health and professional organizations.
Fluoride operates in two ways:
Topical fluoride strengthens teeth after eruption by penetrating the outer surface of tooth enamel, enhancing their resistance to decay. Topical fluoride is obtained from dental products like toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dental professionals often recommend professional fluoride applications twice a year, especially for children, during routine dental check-ups.
Systemic fluoride strengthens both erupted and developing teeth beneath the gums. We naturally receive systemic fluoride through foods and community water sources. It is also available as supplements in drop or gel form, prescribed by dentists or physicians. Fluoride drops are typically suitable for infants, while tablets are recommended for children up to their teenage years. Monitoring fluoride intake is crucial; excessive consumption during teeth development may lead to fluorosis, causing white spots on the teeth. It’s essential to check your water supply for existing fluoride content before considering systemic supplements.
Instances warranting fluoride treatment include:
It’s important to note that fluoride, while highly beneficial, is not a standalone solution for preventing tooth decay. Regular brushing, flossing, balanced diets, reduced sugary snacks, and routine dental visits are equally vital components of maintaining optimal oral health.