Fluoride products for the teeth have immense importance in dentistry. Fluoride is one such chemical, the balance of which is highly required for strong and healthy teeth. However, there is an optimum amount of fluoride needed for teeth. Anything lesser than that or greater than that can cause harm and serious teeth and gum problems and tooth decay. The best option, therefore, is to get a fluoride based toothpaste or mouthwash, which will keep on providing the teeth with the optimum quantity of its daily dose of fluoride.
The benefits of fluoride products:
Before delving into the types of fluoride products available, let's have a look at the benefits of fluoride on teeth. Fluorides actually save the teeth from dental caries. It happens such that fluoride makes a certain mineral bonding on the teeth which is called fluorapatite. This is not normally found in human teeth, but when teeth damage is done, then to heal it fast this compound is needed to repair the damages. This adds to the mineral bonding in the teeth and strengthens the teeth.
The fluoride products:
The various fluoride based products, which you may use are as follows:
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Every day, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth's enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Minerals are lost (demineralization) from a tooth's enamel layer when acids -- formed from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth -- attack the enamel. Minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate are redeposited (remineralization) to the enamel layer from the foods and waters consumed. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization to repair the enamel layer leads to tooth decay.
a)Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth.
b)It also reverses early decay.
c)In children under 6 years of age, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth.
d) Fluoride also helps speed remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults.
In What Forms Is Fluoride Available?
As mentioned, fluoride is found in foods and in water. It can also be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses. Mouth rinses containing fluoride in lower strengths are available over-the-counter; stronger concentrations require a doctor's prescription.
We dentists, apply fluoride to the teeth as a gel, foam, or varnish. These treatments contain a much higher level of fluoride than the amount found in toothpastes and mouth rinses. Varnishes are painted on the teeth; foams are put into a mouth guard, which is applied to the teeth for one to four minutes; gels can be painted on or applied via a mouth guard.(as shown in figure)
When Is Fluoride Intake Most Critical?
It is certainly important for infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years to be exposed to fluoride. This is the timeframe during which the primary and permanent teeth come in. However, adults benefit from fluoride, too. New research indicates that topical fluoride -- from toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments -- are as important in fighting tooth decay as in strengthening developing teeth.
In addition, people with certain conditions may be at increased risk of tooth decay and would therefore benefit from additional fluoride treatment. They include people with:
Are There Risks Associated With Fluoride Use?
Fluoride is safe and effective when used as directed but can be hazardous at high doses (the "toxic" dosage level varies based on an individual's weight). For this reason, it's important for parents to carefully supervise their children's use of fluoride-containing products and to keep fluoride products out of reach of children, especially children under the age of 6.
In addition, excess fluoride can cause defects in the tooth's enamel that range from barely noticeable white specks or streaks to cosmetically objectionable brown discoloration. These defects are known as fluorosis and occur when the teeth are forming -- usually in children younger than 6 years. Fluorosis, when it occurs, is usually associated with naturally occurring fluoride, such as that found in well water. If you use well water and are uncertain about the mineral (especially fluoride) content, a water sample should be tested. Although tooth staining from fluorosis cannot be removed with normal hygiene, your dentist may be able to lighten or remove these stains with professional-strength abrasives or bleaches.
Keep in mind, however, that it's very difficult to reach hazardous levels given the low levels of fluoride in home-based fluoride-containing products. Nonetheless, if you do have concerns or questions about the amount of fluoride you or your child may be receiving, talk to your child's dentist, pediatrician, or family doctor.
A few useful reminders about fluoride include:
Fluoride is a chemical naturally present in water and in some foods and is essential for healthy bone growth. A few decades ago, fluoride was discovered to have anti-cariogenic (against tooth decay) properties and slowly gained popularity. While most believe that fluoride can do wonders for your teeth and help you get rid of all problems, it is not true. There is only so much that fluoride can do and there are also undesirable effects from it.
Read on to know some myths about fluoride versus the actual facts.
Myth: Drinking fluoridated water can lead to fluorosis, which produces brown, pitted teeth, which are weak and aesthetically unappealing.
Fact: People develop fluorosis only when the water contains excessive amounts of fluorine. The currently defined permissible level is about 0.7 parts per million. At this level, fluoride provides the maximum protection against caries, at the same time not leading to fluorosis. In some cases, mild fluorosis can be seen, which only produces white speckles on the tooth and not brown pits. These teeth have a higher resistance to decay than people drinking non-fluoridated water.
Myth: Fluoride is a forced medication
Fact: Fluoride is a chemical with special benefits to the bones and teeth. In cases where the water does not contain sufficient quantities of fluoride or where the person is prone for decay, adding fluoride will provide the extra level of protection against caries.
Fact: Various studies have shown that this is not true. In fact, fluoride has been endorsed as safe to use and does not contribute to any diseases like heart disease, cancer, autism, or kidney problems.
Myth: Fluoride is not safe for children.
Fact: Children need a good amount of fluoride in their tooth forming years. This produces teeth that are more resistant to decay and are stronger generally. If the regular supply of water does not contain sufficient fluoride, then the child can be given supplements in the form of fluoridated toothpastes and gel applications at the clinic to provide the anti-cariogenic benefit.
Myth: If there is enough water in the fluoride, then there is no worry of tooth decay.
Fact: Fluoride only makes the teeth resistant to easy decay, it does not protect from decay completely. Proper oral hygiene habits (brushing, flossing, rinsing, dental visits) are essential to ensure that there is no plaque accumulation and food deposits to prevent caries. Fluoride is not a replacement for these practices.
Like with anything else, even excessive fluoride is not good for health, therefore the recommended level is 0.7 ppm. Ensure fluoride supplements are used only after a discussion with your dentist.
Dental caries (tooth decay) is caused by acid-producing bacteria that collect around the teeth and gingivae (gums) in a sticky, clear film called “plaque.” Without good daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits, teeth become more vulnerable to caries. Brushing twice a day and cleaning between teeth with floss or another type of interdental cleaner help remove plaque. Regular dental examinations and cleanings also are important for keeping teeth healthy.
Another key to good oral health is fluoride, a mineral that helps prevent caries and can repair teeth in the very early, microscopic stages of the disease.
Fluoride can be obtained in two forms: topical and systemic.
TOPICAL AND SYSTEMIC FLUORIDES
Topical fluorides are applied directly to the tooth enamel. Some examples include fluoride toothpastes and mouthrinses, as well as fluoride treatments in the dental clinic.
Systemic fluorides are those that are swallowed. Examples include fluoridated water and dietary fluoride supplements. The maximum reduction in dental caries is achieved when fluoride is available both topically and systemically.
Dentists have used in-office fluoride treatments for decades to help protect the oral health of children and adults, especially patients who may be at a higher risk of developing caries. Some factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing caries include the following:
undergoing head and neck radiation therapy.
PROFESSIONAL FLUORIDE TREATMENT
If you, or a family member, are at a moderate-to high risk of developing caries, a professional fluoride treatment can help. The fluoride preparation used in the "Smile Up Dental Care & Implant Center " dental clinic is a much stronger concentration than that in toothpastes or fluoride mouthrinses that may be available in a store or at a pharmacy.
Professional fluoride treatments generally take just a few minutes. The fluoride may be in the form of a solution, gel, foam or varnish. Typically, it is applied with a cotton swab or brush, or it is used as a rinse or placed in a tray that is held in the mouth for several minutes.
After the treatment, you may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride and help repair microscopic carious areas.
Depending on your oral health status, fluoride treatments may be recommended every three, six or 12 months. Your dentist also may recommend additional preventive measures if you are at a moderate or high risk of developing caries. These measures may include over-the-counter or prescription therapeutic products such as fluoride mouthrinses, gels or antibacterial mouthrinses.