Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally present in many different foods and almost all water supplies. Fluoride is also used in many dental products such as toothpaste and mouth rinses. Fluoride works in two ways: topically and systemically.
Topical fluorides strengthen teeth that have already grown into the mouth. As the teeth already present in the mouth are exposed to the fluoride, this is incorporated into the outer surface of the tooth, making them more resistant to decay. Children should be receiving fluoride treatments every six months, as this is one of the most effective ways of providing the benefits of topical fluoride. Additionally, depending on your child’s risk for decay and decay activity, we may prescribe a fluoride product to use at home.
Systemic fluorides are those that are ingested through food and water, and are used by the body as teeth are formed. The need for dietary fluoride supplements for the child will be determined by water supply in the child’s home.