Fluoride is a mineral that is found in your body’s bones and teeth. It is naturally present in rocks, soil, water, and the air. However, it can also be produced synthetically in higher concentrations to replenish depleted minerals in the teeth.
Synthetic fluoride can be found in toothpaste, varnish, mouthwashes, and other products. It strengthens the tooth enamel and protects it from acid attacks that lead to cavities. Fluoride can even reverse early-stage tooth decay.
Dr. La will examine your child's teeth to look for signs of tooth decay or gum disease.
We will clean your child's teeth before applying fluoride varnish. This involves scaling away plaque and tartar buildup, brushing your teeth with a high-powered electric toothbrush, and flossing the teeth.
Finally, a fluoride gel is painted onto the teeth and left on for about a minute before rinsing it out.
Your child will be asked to avoid food and drinks for 30 minutes after their fluoride treatment.
Fluoride can strengthen your tooth enamel by remineralizing the teeth. This process entails restoring minerals that are vital for tooth strength and durability. Fluoride also attracts calcium and phosphate to prevent enamel erosion. Enamel erosion weakens the teeth and is what leads to cavities. Fluoride makes the tooth enamel resistant to acid attacks and bacterial plaque.
If fluoride actively remineralizes tooth enamel, then it also prevents demineralization which leads to cavities. When you eat a diet high in sugar or don’t practice adequate oral hygiene, you’re going to leave food particles behind in your mouth.
What happens when there are food particles sitting in the mouth is this sticky yellow substance known as plaque forms, which is made of bacteria. This bacteria feeds off of the left-behind sugars in the mouth and converts them into acids. Acid attacks then form holes in the enamel, causing cavities. The more minerals your teeth have, the stronger they are, and this acts as a protective barrier against enamel erosion.
Fluoride varnish mixes with your saliva, which coats our teeth and washes away bacteria. This reduces the bacteria’s ability to produce acids while at the same time strengthening tooth enamel. Special fluoride treatments like silver diamine fluoride can reverse tooth decay by inhibiting the growth of cavity-causing bacteria.
Yes, fluoride is perfectly safe as long as your child does not have an allergy. Children who are eight years old or younger should avoid excessive fluoride intake so they don’t develop fluorosis. Fluorosis can cause tooth discoloration from being over-exposed to fluoride too soon.
Preventative dental care such as fluoride treatments is usually covered up to 80-100% by dental insurance. This is because these treatments are effective at preventing serious oral health problems that would be costly and time-consuming. Contact your insurance provider to find out what and how much they cover and be sure to contact your Southborough pediatric dentist if you have any questions.