We have all been asked by the dentist if we want a fluoride treatment, and we’ve all heard that it’s important for our dental health. But, most of us don’t know the correct amount of fluoride to use and where to get it other than the dentist office.
Fluoride can be found in some toothpaste, mouthwash, and tap water. But there are also treatments available (over the counter and prescription). With so many options, it’s hard to know the right amounts and places to get your fluoride from.
Importance of Fluoride
Teeth are continuously going through the process of demineralization and remineralization. This means they are constantly losing and gaining minerals.
When teeth are exposed to minerals, like phosphate, fluoride, or calcium, your enamel absorbs them and uses them to strengthen your teeth. These sources are found in food and dental treatments. Plaque is known to be a sticky substance created from leftover food particles and saliva that mix in your mouth. Plaque later forms an acid that removes those necessary minerals from your enamel.
Fluoride is an important nutrient for your teeth as it prevents the acids in your mouth from demineralizing your enamel. Fluoride can not remove decay but, once a dentist’s diagnoses decay, extra fluoride can prevent it from getting worse.
It’s important for children to be exposed to fluoride while their teeth grow in. This will ensure that their adult teeth are strong and healthy.
What Fluoride Treatments are Available?
- Tap Water: Tap water is a good and accessible source of fluoride. Most towns add fluoride to their city water supply. Use the CDC water system map to see if your town is one of these.
- Over the counter and prescription pastes and rinses: Many toothpastes and rinses, both over the counter and prescription, are filled with beneficial fluorides. We often recommend Fluoridex mouth wash to our patients. If your dentist thinks you may benefit from a prescription fluoride, they will discuss this option with you during a regularly scheduled checkup.
- In-Office Treatments: Dentists often apply a fluoride gel, foam or varnish while you’re in for your check-up.
- Supplements: Dentists may prescribe fluoride supplements in order to ensure that you’re getting the recommended amount of fluoride.
Am I Getting Enough Fluoride?
It is recommended by The American Dental Association that getting fluoride topically and internally is best. This would mean both fluoride in a toothpaste/rinse form alongside drinking fluoride-infused water or taking a supplement.
If you’re worried you aren’t getting the right amount of fluoride, consult with your dentist. They will be able to tell the amount of fluoride best for you and the best ways for you to get it.
Here at Alrez Family Dentistry, we always recommend getting fluoride treatment. Ensuring that you get the proper amount of fluoride, alongside the in-office treatment, are just two of the many reasons why you should be visiting the dentist for your 6 month check-ups!