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What is fluoride? Does Fluoride benefits both children and adults?

July 29, 2018 - by Dr. Alpa Dalal - in Community, Health

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What is fluoride?

Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter and occurs naturally in varying amounts in water sources such as rivers, lakes and even the oceans. Fluoride is naturally present to some extent in certain foods and beverages but the levels vary widely. To help protect teeth from cavities, fluoride is also added to some dental products such as toothpaste.

Research has shown that fluoride not only reduces cavities in children and adults, but it also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay, even before the decay is visible. Fluoride is the best cavity fighter to help keep the whole family’s teeth strong — no matter their ages*

Does Fluoride benefits both children and adults?

Fluoride benefits both children and adults. Here’s how: Before teeth break through the gums (erupt), the fluoride taken in from foods, beverages and dietary supplements makes tooth enamel (the hard surface of the tooth) stronger, making it easier to resist tooth decay. This provides what is called a “systemic” benefit.

After teeth erupt, fluoride helps rebuild (remineralize) weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth. This provides what is called a “topical” benefit.

In addition, the fluoride you take in from foods and beverages continues to provide a topical benefit because it becomes part of your saliva, constantly bathing the teeth with tiny amounts of fluoride that help rebuild weakened tooth enamel.

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 should only be used by children ages 2 and up, or as directed by a dentist

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