Your teeth are constantly under attack. Bacteria attach to the enamel and erode the hard surface through demineralization, which causes calcium and phosphorus to leave the enamel and will lead to cavities if not stopped. Fluoride is often referred to as nature’s cavity fighter. It’s a mineral that occurs naturally in food and water and remineralizes the tooth, acting as a catalyst to strengthen the calcium in the enamel to make it more resistant to the decay-causing bacteria.
Check your tube of toothpaste and chances are good it will say “contains cavity-fighting fluoride” or words to that effect. So why do you still need fluoride when you’re at your dentist office?
“The concentration of fluoride in over-the-counter products is not as high as in the products that can be placed or prescribed by us,” said Faddy Makaryus, DMD, a general dentist in the Coast Dental Clearwater office.
“All patients need a fluoride treatment because we’re all prone to decay. Even if you’ve never had a cavity before, you can get one,” Dr. Makaryus said. “We recommend you have fluoride applied to your teeth at every cleaning and that you take home a mouth rinse that you can use every day so you can remineralize your teeth and prevent cavities.”
Dentists may also prescribe fluoride supplements in the form of tablets, drops or lozenges for patients who are at a high-risk for tooth decay. This includes people who have already experienced decay, have illnesses or are taking medications that limit the amount of saliva they can produce, are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments, are anorexic or bulimic, or children ages six months to 16 years who live in an area that does not have fluoridated water. Make sure you ask your dentist is any of these circumstances apply to you.
Faddy Makaryus, DMD, has been a practicing dentist since 2006. He provides general dentistry services to patients age 8 and older. His services include crown lengthening, dental implants and restorations, bone grafting, extractions, periodontal disease management, ridge augmentation, root canal therapy, sinus lift and surgical treatment of oral cancer. His office is located at 23680 U.S. Highway 19 N, Clearwater, FL 33765.
Written By: Beth Gaddis
Reviewed By: Faddy Makaryus, DMD
Reviewed By: Charbel Klaib, DMD
Reviewed By: Cindy Roark, DMD