Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally found in nature and has been proven to strengthen and protect the teeth from the acids produced by the bacteria in our mouths. While we do get fluoride in a limited amount from the water we drink, the foods we eat, numerous studies show that there are a multitude of situations where adding fluoride preventively will further strengthen your teeth and help to prevent cavities.
Dr. James R. Donley of Lumbertown Dental Wellness in North Muskegon, MI encourages all of his patients – unless they have a thyroid problem – to do a fluoride treatment right after their teeth cleaning. The surfaces of the teeth are clean and very receptive to the fluoride varnish then. We use a paint-on varnish that is sticky and sits on the teeth for a couple of minutes. We encourage you to leave it on the teeth as long as possible without rinsing or brushing or eating to allow it to integrate into the outer surface of the teeth.
The city water in the Muskegon area has been fluoridated for the past 70 years and Dr. Donley claims he can tell when someone grew up here versus someone who didn’t, because they tend to have significantly fewer cavities! Systemic fluoride in low dosages when your teeth are developing is beneficial. Once the teeth are formed, it needs to be applied on the outside layer of the tooth to be effective. The fluoride helps to remineralize the outer layer of the enamel thereby making them more resistant to decay.
Certain types of patients can benefit from fluoride even more than others. This includes, but certainly is not limited to: diabetics, nursing mothers, people undergoing radiation, people who grind or clench their teeth, people who drink a lot of acidic drinks, people who don’t like to floss, people who eat a lot of candy or drink acidic drinks, and lastly, people that get a lot of gumline decay, especially if they have a lot of restorations in their mouth.
One of the home care products we like is the Cari-Free® product line of rinses and tooth paste to help introduce Xylitol into your mouth. This is a sugar alcohol that the bacteria in your mouth like, but they can’t convert it to an acid producing byproduct, thereby providing a healthier environment in your mouth.
Be sure to ask us about fluoride at your next Wellness Visit!