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Does Fluoride Really Make a Difference?

water fountainIn the past, cavities were a fact of life. But over the last several years tooth decay has been reduced dramatically due to fluoride. Fluoride is beneficial for adults as well as children. Research has shown that fluoride reduces cavities by up to 40% in children and 35% in adults.*

Yes. Numerous studies over the past 60 years have shown that fluoride at recommended levels is not only safe, but provides significant health benefits.*

How Does Fluoride Help Children?

Children benefit from fluoride both systemically (by ingesting fluoride) and topically (the fluoride that gets on their teeth). Systemic and topical fluoride work together to keep teeth strong. Fluoride works best in children while teeth are forming. This helps both primary (baby) and permanent teeth. Starting at birth, and until all permanent teeth have fully erupted, ingested fluoride helps strengthen teeth as they are forming. Topical fluoride helps people of all ages. Fluoride is the only known substance that will actually strengthen teeth and make them harder.

Fluoride Varnish

With a stroke of a brush coated with a new topical fluoride treatment, dentists can paint a lasting smile for children in an easy, safe and cost-effective way.

New to the United States, the product called sodium fluoride varnish has a higher concentration of fluoride than current gels, foams, rinses, and pastes, but is less toxic to children because less of the product is swallowed during application.

Fluoride Varnish quickly adheres to teeth and over time is slowly released to the tooth surface, promoting tooth remineralization.

No special equipment is needed for the application.

Teeth do not need to be professionally cleaned prior to varnish application.

Fluoride Varnish can prevent decay in both smooth surface and pit and groove sites.

Application is done in three visits, two days apart. This varnish is a sticky, yellow semi-liquid containing 5% sodium fluoride in a resin base mixed with alcohol to dry quickly after application.

The Fluoride Varnish needs to be reapplied every year for three years.

Patients are not to brush their teeth for approximately 10 hours. Patients can eat or drink immediately after application.

Patients are able to leave immediately after application. There are no Fluoride trays, which prevents gagging.

It can be used as a cavity liner or desensitizer.

Does My Child Need Fluoride Supplements?

Most city water is fluoridated and is an adequate source of systemic (ingested) fluoride. If your family uses well water or bottled water, you should have your water tested to see if there is adequate natural fluoride, or if a fluoride supplement is needed. Check with your local Health Department or bottled water manufacturer for testing. If adequate fluoride is not present, your child may need a prescription fluoride supplement from your dentist.

Topical fluoride is provided by fluoridated toothpastes and rinses. Additional fluoride treatments are applied as needed by your dentist during regular check-ups.

* Source: American Dental Association



© Copyright 2003 - Dental WebSmith, Inc., Tom C. Sexton, DMD, PA (Florida), and Tom C. Sexton, DMD, PA (Georgia). All rights reserved. Disclaimer: The information provided within is intended to help you better understand dental conditions and procedures. It is not meant to serve as delivery of medical or dental care. If you have specific questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.