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Fluorides and Oral Health

Tooth decay, also known as dental decay or dental caries, is a major health concern. It is caused by acids made by bacteria in dental plaque. Each time you have sugary food and drink, the bacteria produces acid that attacks teeth, eventually leading tooth decay.

Fluoride works by restoring minerals to tooth surfaces where bacteria may have eroded the enamel. It can also inhibit the growth of harmful oral bacteria and further prevent cavities.

There are three basic fluoride delivery methods for caries prevention; community based (fluoridated water), self- administered (toothpastes and mouth-rinses) and professionally administered (fluoride gels, varnishes).

 Water Fluoridation:

 The crucial requirement for community water fluoridation is a well-established, centralized, piped, water supply. It is safe and cost-effective and should be introduced and maintained wherever socially acceptable and feasible. The optimum fluoride concentration will normally be within the range 0.5-1.0 mg/L.

 Fluoridated Toothpastes:

 Brushing your teeth thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste is one of the most effective ways of preventing tooth decay. The amount of fluoride in the toothpaste can be found on the side of the tube and is measured in parts per million (ppm). Toothpastes containing 1,350 to 1,500ppm fluoride are the most effective.

 Young children are unable to spit out effectively and can ingest 80-100% of the fluoride, causing deleterious effects on tooth development. So, toothpastes containing fluoride at 1,000 ppm are advised for children. .  Toothpaste with candy-like flavours should be discouraged as this may lead to excessive ingestion of fluoride by young children. Brushing should be supervised to minimize swallowing and only a very small amount (less than 5 mm or ‘pea’ sized amount or smear (0.25g)) should be placed on the brush or chewing-stick.

Fluoride Mouth rinses:

 Mouth rinses containing fluoride are recommended as part of a caries-preventive strategy for high caries risk individuals, such as patients undergoing orthodontic treatment or patients with hypo salivary function. These mouth rinses typically contain 100 – 500 ppm F and are used once or twice daily. The use of fluoride mouth rinse is not generally recommended for children below the age of 6 or 7 years of age, because most young children lack the ability to spit out effectively

 Flouride Varnishes:

 Varnishes typically contain high concentrations of fluoride (approximately 50,000 ppm). They are applied on to the tooth surface and designed to stay for several hours. As this varnish rests on the tooth's surface, saliva dissolves the fluoride salt, which in turn allows fluoride ions to be released and absorbed by the teeth and soft tissues. Later, the fluoride is re-released into the oral cavity from these reservoirs which acts as protection for the teeth against cavities. The most commercially available varnishes is 5% sodium fluoride. The varnish is applied with a brush and sets within seconds.  Application of fluoride varnish every six months is effective in preventing dental decay in primary and permanent teeth of children and adolescents.

Flouride Gels:

 Fluoride gel is available for professional use, and also for self-application. It is usually can be applied in a tray to treat an entire dental arch at one time. Other methods of application include using cotton wool buds, floss or a toothbrush. The concentration of fluoride in gel typically ranges from 5,000 ppm to 12,300 ppm and formulations with low pH (acidulated phosphate fluoride (APF) gel) and neutral pH (sodium fluoride) gels are available. APF gel is the most widely used professionally applied fluoride gel

The application time for professionally applied gels is 4 minutes and the frequency of application is up to 4 times a year, depending on caries risk. Self-applied fluoride gel is applied more frequently, either daily or weekly, and is recommended for high risk individuals, such as those undergoing fixed appliance orthodontic treatment or patients with hypo salivary function


 What are the fluoride treatment options available in Dental Clinic ?

 If you, or a family member, are at a moderate-to high risk of developing caries, a professional fluoride treatment can help. The fluoride may be in the form of a gel or varnish. After the treatment, you may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride and help repair microscopic carious areas. Depending on your oral health status, fluoride treatments may be recommended every three, six or 12 months. Your dentist   also may recommend additional preventive measures if you are at a moderate or high risk of developing caries. These measures may include over-the-counter or prescription therapeutic products such as fluoride mouth rinses or gels.




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