You had it when you were little. Sometimes it’s in city water, but it is usually never in well water. It is in toothpastes and mouth rinses. It’s fluoride – but what is it and what does it really do? Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral compound most famous for its ability to fight – and even reverse – tooth decay. But it isn’t just a superhero disrupter of cavity-bug activity. It is also a great protector in other ways. Fluoride can help rebuild and strengthen teeth! That’s important because right from the beginning, teeth are under attack. Tiny teeth are exposed to milk. Teen teeth might suffer from sports-drink-itis. In fact, even daily wear and tear like chewing on fingernails, biting a pencil, or chomping on ice all contributes to mineral loss on those pearly whites. Sure, saliva naturally helps remineralize, but adding fluoride treatments really does ensure that teeth are as hard and strong as they need to be. Make sure the toothpaste you buy contains it (yes, even that sparkly stuff has it!), but monitor how much gets put on the brush (a pea-sized dot it all you need) and make sure everyone spits after brushing.
Fluoride may be good on the surface, but swallowing too much can cause white spots on teeth!
We also recommend that you talk to us about regular fluoride treatments. We offer fluoride treatments at every visit and have a variety of flavors for youngsters to choose from. Kids love it!
In addition to regular fluoride treatments, we also have Silver Diamine Fluoride available for special needs patients, babies, and children whose teeth will be falling out soon. SDF can be painted directly on caries lesions to stop active dental disease and cavities in its tracks without any invasive treatments. This is not our first choice for cavity care, because it does stain the teeth it touches black, but in instances in which children are unable to sit with their mouths open or tolerate any drilling, this is an effective, FDA approved alternative. It’s definitely a tooth-saver for some of our patients!