The Importance of Fluoride
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in the earth's rocky soil and has been proven to act as an important role for our teeth. Fluoride assists to harden and protect the surfaces of teeth against the acids that cause tooth decay. Fluoride strengthens the enamel and structure around children's teeth and for adults, assists to protect against temperature sensitivity.
Where To Get Fluoride
Since the 1960's, many communities add fluoride to tap water for a convenient way to provide the source and eliminate the need for external supplements. Other sources include food and drink processed with tap water, dental products such as toothpaste and rinses, as well as through applications at the dentist office. Most home water filters do not remove fluoride from drinking water and generally, bottled water does not contain fluoride. It is important to understand what the right amount of fluoride is for your family and to make sure you are getting enough to protect your teeth.
Fluoride is recommended to be applied by a dentist or hygienist twice per year during routine exams, especially in children over three. To prevent cavities and provide fluoride early on for babies, it is recommended to use tap water and a wash cloth to clean their mouths. Even in adults, fluoride toothpaste and rinses may be necessary if there is sensitivity and vulnerability to tooth decay.
"Fluoride applications are similar to waxing your car. The car wax provides a slippery protecting layer on the surface to keep off dirt, grime, and other effects. After a period of time the wax wears and washes off and you need to have it reapplied." -John P. Goodman, DDS
Fluoride At The Dentist
Our dentist or hygienist will examine and clean your child's teeth first and then layer a glaze (or varnish) of fluoride over the teeth. Most fluoride is flavored to be tolerable and fun for children. After having the varnish fluoride applied, it is not recommended to brush teeth until the following morning to allow the fluoride to permeate. If your dentist provides a fluoride rinse or foam, then kids will need to brush their teeth regularly the rest of the day.
Dental insurance plans will usually cover fluoride once or twice per year, while others will not cover the service at all. The cost for a fluoride treatment is usually between $20-$40 per application. This is well worth the price to protect from the cost and harm of needing a filling or more extensive treatment.
Too Much Fluoride
Without the use of fluoride, the risk for tooth decay and cavities is high especially if not provided at a young age. On the contrary, given multiple sources for fluoride, it is possible to receive too much. Excessive amounts of fluoride during tooth formation and development can result in Fluorosis, described as white splotches and spots formed on the teeth from too much fluoride. If you are concerned you and your family may be receiving too much fluoride, please consult with your dentist immediately.
Dr. Goodman and hygiene staff will only recommend fluoride if you or your child needs fluoride protection. If you have any more questions about fluoride or how to protect your child's teeth from cavities, please call our office at 816-842-8585 or schedule an appointment! Find out more about our office and tips on dental hygiene!