Protective Fluoride Treatment For Your Children
Painting Teeth with Fluoride Varnish Is Effective Against Tooth Decay in Children
With the stroke of a brush coated with a new topical fluoride treatment, dentists can paint a lasting smile for children in an easy, safe and cost-effective way.
What Is It?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that can help to prevent tooth decay by strengthening teeth. Experts say the best way to prevent tooth decay is to use several sources of fluoride.
Fluoride is found naturally in water sources in small but traceable amounts, and in certain foods such as meat, fish, eggs and tea. Fluoride also is added to water in some areas and to toothpastes, rinses and professional treatments. Prescription fluoride tablets are available for children who do not drink fluoridated water.
What it’s used For
Enamel, the outer layer of the crown of a tooth (the visible part), is made of closely packed mineral crystals. Every day, minerals are lost and gained from inside the enamel crystals through processes called demineralization and remineralisation. Demineralization occurs when acids, formed from the combination of plaque bacteria and sugar in your mouth, dissolve the crystals and the spaces between them. But this process is balanced by remineralisation, in which minerals such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate are deposited inside the enamel, building it back up. Too much demineralization without enough remineralisation to repair the enamel leads to tooth decay.
Fluoride strengthens teeth by helping to speed remineralisation and disrupt the production of acids by bacteria. Fluoride can be incorporated into teeth in two ways. When children swallow fluoride in small doses (through food, supplements or fluoridated water), it enters the bloodstream and becomes incorporated in their developing permanent teeth, making it harder for acids to cause demineralization. Fluoride also can enter teeth directly in the mouth when it is applied at the dental office, when you brush with fluoride toothpaste or use a fluoride rinse and when fluoridated water washes over your teeth as you drink.
Fluoride treatments commonly are given to children as their teeth are developing. Often, children get fluoride treatments every six months for extra protection against cavities, even if they already drink fluoridated water.
If your child has a history of cavities or is at high risk of decay, he or she should use additional fluoride, such as fluoride mouth rinses, to promote remineralisation. These rinses, recommended for children over the age of 6, are found in the mouthwash section of most stores. Prescription fluoride rinses and gels that provide a higher level of fluoride also are available. Fluoride supplements generally are reserved for children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years who don’t drink fluoridated water. These are available as liquids for younger children and tablets for older children and can be prescribed by either your paediatrician or dentist.
Fluoride treatments help all teeth and help to prevent decay in both children and adults. Anyone who is at risk of dental decay is a good candidate for fluoride treatments. Factors that increase the risk of tooth decay includes a history of cavities, infrequent dental visits, poor brushing habits and dietary factors, especially frequent snacking. Many common medications such as antihistamines and medications for high blood pressure, anxiety or depression can cause the mouth to be dry. Without enough saliva, tooth decay progresses quickly.
Before you have an in-surgery fluoride treatment, your teeth should be clean. Your dentist may need to polish away stains. Before using fluoride rinses or gels at home, thoroughly brush and floss your teeth. It's a good idea to use fluoride products at night before bedtime so there is less opportunity for them to be washed or rinsed away.
How it’s done
The fluoride treatments you receive in a dental surgery have a higher concentration of fluoride than over-the-counter fluoride mouthwash or toothpaste. They are used for both children and adults. Dental-surgery treatments also are different chemically and stay on the teeth longer.
There are two common types of professionally applied fluorides: acidulated phosphate fluoride (APF), which is acidic, and neutral sodium fluoride, which is not. Neutral sodium fluoride usually is used for people who have dry mouth (xerostomia) or who have tooth-coloured fillings, crowns or bridges. An acidic fluoride may irritate dry tissues or create small pits in composite fillings.
Fluoride is applied as a gel, foam or varnish during a dental appointment. The teeth are dried so the fluoride doesn’t become diluted. Fluoride can be applied by using a tray that looks like a mouth guard for one to four minutes. Fluoride also can be painted directly on the teeth. It comes in a variety of flavours, but it should never be swallowed.
Fluoride supplements are usually used in children. They are taken each day in small quantities, ranging from 0.25 to 1 milligram per day based on the child's age and amount of fluoride in the water he or she drinks. Dentists do not prescribe more than 264 milligrams of fluoride tablets at a time because the toxic dose of fluoride for a 2-year-old child weighing 22 pounds is 320 milligrams. To avoid any chance of overdose, do not stock up on fluoride tablets. If you have any questions regarding fluoride risks, talk to your dentist or physician.
Everyone should use fluoridated toothpaste. Be careful with young children because they are more likely to swallow the toothpaste instead of spitting it out. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when they brush, and encourage them to spit out as much as possible. Avoid flavoured toothpastes that may encourage swallowing.
Don’t eat, drink or smoke for at least 30 minutes after a professional fluoride treatment to increase the fluoride's contact with the teeth.
When To Call A Professional
It is important that you talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about any fluoride products you are using. Your dentist or hygienist can consider all sources of supplemental fluoride and determine which are best for you or your child.
We offer routine treatment plans for the whole family. Why wait? Call now and get your family protected as soon as possible!