Why do people need to use fluoride?
If used properly, fluoride helps prevent and control tooth decay. The exposure of fluoride on developing teeth plays a long-term role in tooth decay prevention.
Can children get too much fluoride?
Yes. If excess fluoride is ingested it can result in a condition known as fluorosis. Fluorosis can cause varying degrees of staining and irregular enamel formation in your child’s permanent teeth. Most municipal water supplies are fluoridated at safe levels (1.0 ppm). If your water source is an independent well, or if you drink only bottled water, you will have to investigate the level of fluoride that the water contains. Another potential source of excess fluoride is fluoridated toothpaste. Children should use a “pea” size dab of fluoridated toothpaste and expectorate as much as possible. Parents should always supervise young brushers.
When are teeth at risk for developing enamel fluorosis?
Enamel fluorosis occurs only when the teeth are under the gums and still developing.
Does enamel fluorosis worsen after the teeth erupt?
No. Once teeth are fully developed and erupt into the mouth they are no longer susceptible to enamel fluorosis.
Are fluoride treatments effective for adults?
Definitely. The application of fluoride increases the level of fluoride on the surface of the tooth, regardless of age. Adults get decay despite the belief that only children are prone to cavities. As we age, root decay is more likely to increase. Use fluoridated toothpaste, office treatments, and a home fluoride gel to get multiple applications of fluoride.