Novato General Dentist Discusses the Need for Fluoride Treatments

Written by Dr. McConnell on Jul 28, 2014

Fluoride treatments alone are not enough to prevent the onset of tooth decay. It is, however, the most effective agent available to help maintain healthy teeth aside from conscientious at-home oral hygiene and regular trips to Family Dentistry in Novato, CA.  Fluoride is a found to varying degrees in most all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride are well-documented by over 50 years of positive results, and its use is supported by many health and professional organizations.

While the majority of the population absorbs fluoride from food and water, the quantities are not always sufficient to help prevent decay.  Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of fluoride for any of the following reasons:

  • Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth
  • Exposed and sensitive root surfaces
  • Fair to poor oral hygiene habits
  • Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake
  • Inadequate exposure to fluorides

How does fluoride work?

Topical fluoride is introduced through the use of fluoride-containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses and gels. Topical fluoride strengthens teeth, making them more resistant to decay by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel. At our Gentle Dentle Marin County office we generally recommend that children have a professional application of topical fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.

We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies Systemic fluoride strengthens not only teeth that have erupted, but those still developing under the gums. It can also be obtained as a supplement in drop or gel form prescribed by your dentist or physician.  Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, while tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years.

It is very important for a dental professional to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests.  If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.