What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral compound found in water and soil. It is also present in foods and beverages at varying concentrations. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the entire tooth surface more resistant to acid attacks from the bacteria that live in the plaque on your teeth. Fluoride also promotes remineralization (adding minerals such as calcium back in to your teeth), which aids in repairing early decay before a cavity forms in the tooth. There are two ways to increase fluoride protection: topical and systemic applications.
Professionally administered topical fluorides such as foams, gels or varnishes are applied by Dr. Elliott or Dr. Molina and left on for a few minutes, usually during a cleaning appointment. For patients with a high risk of cavities, Dr. Elliott and Dr. Molina may prescribe a special toothpaste for daily home use.
Systemic fluoride is taken into the body through consuming fluoridated water, fluoride supplements or foods and beverages. Once systemic fluoride is absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract, the blood distributes it throughout the entire body. Fluoride is then deposited into unerupted, developing teeth. Systemic fluoride is also found in saliva and it continually bathes the teeth, providing a topical application to protect teeth. Dr. Elliott and Dr. Molina will determine if fluoride supplements are necessary for your child during their routine cleaning appointments.