Preventative Dentistry

Fluoride

Fluoride treatment strengthens enamel, the outer surface of your teeth. We recommend supplementing with fluoride, especially for children. Since adding fluoride to public drinking water, there’s been a dramatic reduction in cavities. When taken as prescribed, fluoride is not only safe but vital for healthy teeth.

Here are some great facts:

  • Fluoride is all-natural! It is actually a mineral found in water, soil, and plants.
  • Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, repairs demineralized areas by adding calcium back into the tooth, and makes enamel more resistant to decay and the acids and plaque that cause decay.
  • Topical fluorides are fluorides we apply to the outside of your teeth like in toothpaste and fluoride mouth rinses. Read the label on your toothpaste and be sure it contains fluoride and is ADA approved.

The fluoride varnish, gel, or foam we apply in our dental office is another topical fluoride that contains more fluoride than your toothpaste or mouth rinse can provide. Children wearing orthodontic braces and appliances should have fluoride applied more frequently to prevent cavities when thorough brushing is more difficult.  In addition to fluoride treatments at dental visits, orthodontic patients should also be using fluoride rinse or prescription toothpaste or rinse with higher levels of fluoride at home. Patients undergoing chemo and/or radiation therapy need more topical fluoride in the form of trays to be worn at home to prevent cavities during treatment. Our team will fabricate custom trays for home use for patients who need additional fluoride treatments that will be done at home.

  • Systemic fluoride (any fluoride that is swallowed) as in foods, water, and supplements benefit developing teeth and already erupted teeth developing strong enamel. Swallowed fluorides are also incorporated into the saliva and strengthen the outside enamel of the tooth.

Drinking water and fluoride

When fluoride is present in the drinking water, it helps children with developing teeth.  If your family has well water, always have your water tested for fluoride levels before giving fluoride supplements to your children. Some wells have sufficient fluoride and supplements are not needed. In Rhode Island, 85% of all public water supplied by towns are fluoridated water systems. Check with your town to see if your water contains fluoride.

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