What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral found throughout the earth's crust and widely distributed in nature. For decades dentists wondered why children born and raised in Minonk, Illinois had much less decay than children from other areas. They discovered that naturally occurring fluoride in the Minonk drinking water protected the teeth from cavities.
As a result of this discovery, fluoride is often added to drinking water to help reduce tooth decay. The American Dental Association, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, among many others, have endorsed the use of fluoride in water supplies because water fluoridation can reduce decay up to 25%.
Other sources of fluoride include certain foods (fruits, vegetables), toothpaste, mouth rinses, and professionally applied gels and varnishes "fluoride treatments.”
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay in different ways:
- Fluoride concentrates in the growing bones and developing teeth of children, helping to harden the enamel on baby and adult teeth before they emerge.
- Fluoride helps to harden the enamel on teeth that have already emerged.
- Fluoride also helps prevent decay by reducing the ability of the mouth bacteria to produce acid.
- Fluoride works during the demineralization and reminerlization processes that naturally occur in your mouth. When fluoride is present during remineralization, the minerals deposited are harder than they would be otherwise, helping to strengthen the tooth enamel and prevent demineralization during the next “acid attack.”
Directions for Care after Fluoride Treatment
Dental Sealants and More uses a white fluoride varnish. This varnish delivers the highest fluoride possible. To obtain the maximum benefit, please follow these recommendations after a treatment:
- Eat a soft food diet after the treatment.
- Avoid hot drinks and mouth rinse.
- Do not remove the varnish by brushing for at least 6 hours.
- If possible, wait until the next morning to resume regular brushing.
After the application, the varnish may appear white and streaky on the teeth. This is normal. Regular tooth brushing on the next day will remove the remaining varnish.