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Q & A about fluoride therapy.
Stay tuned for some very exiting news about GODC!
Fluoride therapy: Q & A with our dental hygiene team
What is fluoride?
-A mineral that exists naturally in rocks, water, and soil. It is made of calcium, phosphorus, hydrogen, and oxygen.
What does it do to my teeth?
– Fluoride modifies the main calcium phosphate mineral naturally found in the teeth and makes them more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria. It also helps the enamel rebuild during the constant cycle of eating and drinking and being exposed to acid and sugar.
What is the difference between systemic and topical fluoride?
– Systemic fluoride is obtained from foods we eat and community water supplies. It is also sold as a supplement in health food stores. Systemic fluoride strengthens teeth that have erupted but also teeth that are still developing underneath the gums in children. It is extremely important to monitor the amount of systemic fluoride a child ingests because too much systemic fluoride during tooth development can cause a condition called fluorosis.
– Topical fluoride is what you receive at your dentist during most routine cleaning appointments. It can also be found in much lower concentrations in toothpaste, mouthwashes, and prescription products from your dentist. This type of fluoride strengthens teeth that are already erupted by soaking into the enamel and making the teeth more resistant to decay. This type of fluoride does not need strict monitoring because it is not being ingested; however, it is recommended that parents observe their young children during their daily brushing and rinsing to make sure they spit the products out fully and do not swallow their mouthwash or toothpaste.
When is topical fluoride recommended?
– If your home uses well water
– Patients that are undergoing orthodontic treatment (braces)
– Patients with less than ideal oral hygiene habits
– Patients with dry mouth (this can be a side effect of many medications, medical treatments, or health conditions)
– Someone with frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake (this could even be fruit or coffee creamer- it’s not just junk food that causes cavities)
– Patients with a recent history of cavities (you are considered to be at high risk for new cavities for 3 years after your last cavity, per the ADA)
– Patients with deep pits and grooves on the chewing surface of molars
– Patients with gum recession that may have exposed root surfaces
– Anyone who wants to prioritize PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY! 🙂
Why should I spend the extra money to get a fluoride treatment if my insurance doesn’t pay for it?
– A tooth that has never been cracked, fractured, drilled, filled, or treated by a dentist and is in its natural form is always ideal. Once any restorative material has been placed in a tooth, it is never as strong as it was in its natural form.
– The patient’s cost for fluoride is typically going to be drastically cheaper than seeing the dentist to restore a tooth, even with insurance.
Is there a question you still don’t have an answer to? Please ask one of our friendly hygienists at your next dental visit and they will be happy to go over any question you may have concerning the benefits of fluoride therapy.
Our ultimate goal as healthcare providers is to REDUCE the amount of disease that we see. We are sharing this information with you because we believe that prevention is the best medicine; in dentistry, fluoride treatment is a powerful ally to helping our patients achieve the level of health that they seek.
If you need to make your next appointment or have a question please contact our friendly care team at
p.s. we have some exciting news regarding our growing footprint in Marion County to share with you soon- look out for upcoming newsletters!
Here is a short video with more details on how fluoride works and evidence for its effectiveness.