The cavity-fighting power of topical and systemic fluoride supplements at the dentist’s office

The Georgia Department of Public Health reports that 96% of our state’s residents who access public water systems receive water treated with fluoride. Such fluoridated water, the DPH notes, has been shown to reduce the incidence of tooth decay by 30 to 40%! This naturally occurring, cavity-fighting mineral can also be found in some fortified foods and in the toothpaste that Athens Dental Group recommends. Our dentists, Drs Drew Richardson, Brant Sandifer, and R. Lawrence George, may also recommend additional fluoride to young patients and others at risk of developing cavities and progressive decay. 

What are fluoride supplements?

Dummy Tooth

At your friendly dentist’s office, we provide an array of options to strengthen both developing teeth and those that have already erupted. Depending on the patient’s age and needs, topical or systemic fluoride may be recommended. The former option is applied mainly to the surface of the teeth. It seeps into the tooth’s protective “armor” or enamel. This process builds up the enamel to make the tooth structure more resistant to erosion, cavities, and decay. The latter systemic option strengthens existing teeth and those developing underneath the gums. 

How is fluoride applied? 

Many supplemental fluoride products are available at the dentist’s office. They include special rinses, drops, foams, gels, varnishes, and other formulations. It is important to apply any “take-home” products exactly as directed by one of our dentists. It is especially important to monitor children. They may be inclined to actually consume the fluoride. Excessive fluoride use is associated with white, chalky spots that may require cosmetic treatment later. 

Who is a good candidate for supplemental fluoride? 

Fluoride is a safe, affordable, and effective preventative measure for many individuals. In addition to integrating fluoride into your child’s routine, 6-month dental check-ups, our team may recommend treatment for those with deeply pitted and fissured teeth. These pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are decay-prone. They tend to trap food, bacteria, and other sources of decay and disease. Patients with dry mouth can also benefit from extra fluoride. These products are “helpers” for other at-risk individuals, including those with challenges to consistent good oral care at home or who consume lots of sugary, acidic, and starchy foods and drinks.Remember: Fluoride is not a substitute for good home care and regular professional care at Athens Dental Group. It is a complement to healthy habits. We encourage our friends in Watkinsville, Athens, Winder, Bethlehem, Jefferson, Winterville, Madison, and greater northeast Georgia to schedule an appointment. Call us at (706) 666-4611 today.