Fluoride And Your Teeth

Fluoride And Your Teeth

Fluoride’s Importance to the Teeth

Enamel, the outer layer of the crown of a tooth, is made of closely packed mineral crystals. Every day, minerals are lost and gained from inside the enamel crystals. Losing minerals is called demineralisation. Gaining them back is called remineralisation.

Demineralisation begins with the bacteria in the plaque on your teeth. They feed on sugar and other carbohydrates in your mouth and produce acids. The acids dissolve crystals in tooth enamel. The loss of enamel is balanced by remineralisation. In this process, minerals in the saliva, such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate, are deposited back into the enamel. Too much loss of minerals without enough replacement leads to tooth decay.

Fluoride helps teeth in two ways. When children eat or drink fluoride in small doses, it enters the bloodstream and becomes part of their developing permanent teeth. Swallowed fluorides also become part of the saliva and strengthen teeth from the outside. Acids are less able to damage tooth enamel strengthened by fluoride.

In addition, people apply fluoride directly to their teeth when they use a fluoride toothpaste or rinse. Both children and adults also can receive fluoride treatments from the dentist. Fluoride applied to the outside of the teeth helps to speed remineralization. Fluoride treatments, applied in the dental office, also are strong enough to disrupt the production of acids by bacteria.


Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride in foods, supplements and water enters the bloodstream through the stomach. From there, it is absorbed into the body. In children, the fluoride then becomes available to the teeth that are developing in the jaw. Swallowed fluorides do not add fluoride to the teeth in someone older than age 16.

Topical fluoride products are applied directly to the teeth. They include toothpaste, mouth rinses and professionally applied fluoride treatments. Topical fluoride treatments are in the mouth for only a short time. However, fluoride levels in the mouth remain higher for several hours afterward.

Professional fluoride treatments are given in a dental office. They are applied as a gel, foam or varnish. The fluoride used for these treatments has a higher strength than over-the-counter or prescription mouthwashes or toothpastes.

Fluoride supplements also are available by prescription. They usually are reserved for children who live in areas where the water supply does not contain enough fluoride. Children who need supplements receive them from ages 6 months to 16 years.


Fluoride Supplements: Who Needs Them?

Children between 6 months and 16 years old who do not drink fluoridated water should take fluoride supplements. They are available as liquids for younger children and tablets for older children. Either your pediatrician or your dentist can prescribe them.

If your child has had cavities or is at high risk of tooth decay, he or she should use extra fluoride. This will promote remineralization. Fluoride mouth rinses are recommended for children over the age of 6. They are found in the mouthwash section of most stores.

Your dentist can prescribe fluoride rinses and gels if your child needs a higher level of fluoride. Carefully supervise your children when they use any fluoride product. Keep fluoride out of reach of young children.


Can Fluoride Cause Harm?

Fluoride is safe and effective when used properly. All water-fluoridation systems are checked daily to maintain safe fluoride levels for drinking. Parents should supervise the use of all fluoride products in the home.

Fluoride-supplement tablets should be stored safely away from young children. These supplements are taken each day in small quantities. The dose can range from 0.25 to 1 milligram per day. The dose is based on:

  • The child’s risk of caries
  • The child’s age
  • The amount of fluoride in the water

The Australian Dental Association recommends fluoride supplements only for children who have a high risk of caries. This advice applies regardless of the amount of fluoride in the child’s drinking water.

Dentists limit the amount of tablets they prescribe at one time to reduce the risk of overdose.  If you have any questions regarding fluoride risks, talk to your dentist.

 

All children should use fluoridated toothpaste. If your children are younger than 6, be cautious about how they use it, however. Young children are more likely to swallow toothpaste after brushing instead of spitting it out. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when they brush. Encourage them to spit out as much as possible. Avoid flavoured toothpastes that might encourage swallowing.

Swallowing toothpaste while teeth are developing can cause a cosmetic defect known as fluorosis. Mild fluorosis appears as white specks on the tooth. For many people this is not noticeable. Swallowing larger amounts of fluoride can cause “mottled” brown enamel.

If you need any more information you can contact us at info@orionsdental.com

COVID-19 Update

In light of the COVID-19, it is important for us all to take the necessary steps to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our local communities safe and supported.

At Orion’s Dental, in the interest of health and safety and in accordance with Level 3 restrictions guidelines issued by Australian Dental Association (ADA), we are limiting our treatment to EMERGENCY CARE ONLY.

Our dental practice has always used and will continue to use strict cleaning and disinfection protocols as recommended by the Australian Dental Association. In addition to this, we are taking additional steps to reduce the risk of transmission and to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.

1. If necessary, please only bring an accompanying adult to the appointment. All siblings, grandparents and friends should remain in the vehicle

2. Social distancing – If there are multiple patients in the waiting room, please maintain a safe distance from one another by sitting on alternate seats

3. We require all patients to use a hand sanitiser upon entering the clinic

4. We have removed all magazines and newspaper in the waiting room to avoid cross-contamination

5. If you have recently returned from overseas, or have been in contact with someone who has, please ring to reschedule your appointment

6. If you feel unwell (fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, cough), we ask that you please reschedule

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us on

(03) 9390 9872 (Taylors Lakes) 

(03) 9735 7755 (Lilydale)   

(03) 9547 4404 (Springvale)

(03) 5986 4177 (Rosebud)

For more information, please see:

National Coronavirus Information Line: 1800 020 080
Department of Health and Human Services: click here

Let’s all work together and keep everybody safe.

Teams at Orion’s Dental