Dental decay is a common condition all over the world. One way to help prevent cavities from occurring is through the use of fluoride.
Fluoride helps harden the tooth enamel and make it more resistant to tooth decay. A small cavity can be stopped and even reversed by the remineralization process enhanced by fluoride.
Even though the benefits of fluoride are maximized before the teeth erupt (come in), fluoride is still very beneficial for children and adults after the teeth are fully erupted. Topical fluorides are applied directly to the tooth structure to delay or slow down the tooth decay process.
Children Up to Age 3
For children ages 3 and under, we typically use a topical fluoride (often referred to in our office as varnish) that is applied with a brush. Because very young children may have difficulty not swallowing a rinse-type fluoride, our hygienists will carefully brush it on to ensure that none is swallowed.
Adults and Children Ages 4 & Up
For older children and adults, we use a rinse-type fluoride treatment that is swished in the mouth for a brief period of time and then discharged — not swallowed.