Fluoride is a compound that contains fluorine, a natural element, and is found in drinking water. Using small amounts of fluoride on a routine basis can help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride can be found as an active ingredient in many dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and varnish treatments.
How does fluoride prevent cavities? Fluoride inhibits the loss of minerals from tooth enamel and encourages strengthening the weakened areas of the tooth. Fluoride also affects bacteria that cause cavities, discouraging acid attacks that break down the tooth. The risk of decay is reduced even more when fluoride is combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.
How safe is Fluoride?
Using fluoride for the prevention and control of decay is proven to be both safe and effective. It is a great benefit in keeping teeth healthy. Nevertheless, all products containing fluoride should be stored out of the reach of young children and their use is to be monitored by the parent. Fluoride is only dangerous when used in extreme and excessive amounts.
Topical fluoride is a preventative agent applied to tooth enamel. Fluoride varnish is brushed or “painted” on the tooth enamel by the pediatric dentist or dental professional. Your child will be able to eat or drink, avoiding crunchy food items and hot beverages, after the varnish treatment is applied. Brushing and flossing should be avoided for 4-6 hours after the fluoride treatment to achieve the maximum benefit.