Spokane Family Dentist Discusses the Need for Fluoride

Written by Dr. Collins on Aug 23, 2011

Why is fluoride necessary for healthy teeth?

While fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay, it is the most effective agent available to help maintain healthy teeth.  It is a mineral that is present to some extent in most all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.

Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, it is not always enough to help prevent decay.  Some of the reasons your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of fluoride treatments are:

  • Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth
  • Exposed and sensitive root surfaces
  • Fair to poor oral hygiene habits
  • Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake
  • Inadequate exposure to fluorides

How does fluoride work?

Topical fluoride is introduced through the use of fluoride-containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses and gels. Topical fluoride strengthens teeth, making them more resistant to decay by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel. Spokane Family Dentist generally recommends that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.

We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies Systemic fluoride strengthens not only teeth that have erupted, but those still developing under the gums. It can also be obtained as a supplement in drop or gel form prescribed by your dentist or physician.  Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, while tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years.

It is very important for a dental professional to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests.  If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.