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FLUORIDE

What is fluoride and how is it good for my teeth?

    Fluoride is naturally occurring element found in our environment. The most critical time for fluoride is in the second to third year of life when tooth enamel is being formed. Fluoride will make the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay.  Fluoride use can also encourage remineralization of the tooth surfaces which can help in repairing early decay before it causes a cavity to help decrease tooth sensitivity.

     Fluoridated water protects against cavities; can protect against root caries, a condition often found in adults; and help remineralize early carious lesions (small decay).  Over 140 studies done by 20 different countries proved that fluorided water is "the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health for a lifetime " as stated by AGD.

     Recommendations for fluoride use:

Children

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Infants- .25 mg/day is the most recently published recommended dosage. This can be given as drops.  Do NOT put it in their formulas.

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Use less than a pea size amount of toothpaste with children under two and be careful they do not swallow it.  Don't let them lick the toothpaste tube or "eat" toothpaste.  Reserve the toothpaste made for children until they are two or old enough to obey these guidelines

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Weight or dental age is a better determining factor for fluoride dosage than age in years

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Fluoride treatments may begin after the age of three.  Topical fluoride gel works on the outer surface of a tooth and is NOT taken in internally so a child can not overdose on fluoride

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Fluoride rinses can be used after the age of six, especially in children who are drinking soft drinks and/or wearing braces! They can cut decay by about 30% if used daily

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For the best result of a fluoridated toothpaste, the toothpaste should be on the teeth for four minutes

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Chewable vitamins with fluoride are recommended for children who have cavities, live in areas with unfluoridated drinking water and live in families that are prone to tooth decay or periodontal disease.  Chewing these tablets puts fluoride directly in the grooves of the teeth where most decay is likely to happen

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We use fluoride polishing paste with all our patients when we clean their teeth.

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We apply fluoride gel to all children after they have had their teeth polished 

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WARNING: call 911 when the mgs of fluoride ingested is twice the weight of your child!

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The reason for topical fluoride is to change the pKa of the hydroxyapatite.  This protect the tooth from acid attack which includes the corrosion that causes cavities.

Fluoride use with adults:
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For adults with high level of decay or dry mouth, fluoride rinses are recommended twice a day for four minutes.  Do not swallow the rinse

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For rampant decay rinse with fluoride, to remineralize the enamel, when every you can, do not swallow the rinse.  Try using a professionally high strength fluoride toothpaste and use it in the evening before bed, do not rinse for 30 minutes after its use

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Fluoridated rinses may decrease bleeding problems if used along with good oral hygiene

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For adults who drink unfluoridated water

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Adults wearing braces.

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Dietary fluoride supplements will give teeth a low, prolonged exposure to fluoride to help supplement your fluoride intake, especially in areas where fluoride is not added to the water

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Neutral sodium fluoride is used for caries reduction, remineralization and relief of sensitivity.  Acidulated phosphate fluoride is utilized for caries reduction, enhanced remineralization and reduction in hypersensitivity.

American Dietetic Association position paper on: The Impact of Fluoride on Dental Health

September 14, 2007

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