Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water. The amount of fluoride that is in the water varies and depends on the area in which you live. Some areas such as parts of the Midlands have high levels of natural fluoride in their water. Areas such as Greater Manchester do not have such high levels of fluoride. There is a clear and undisputed association between higher levels of fluoride in the water and a reduction in tooth decay in children and adults.
Fluoride is important because it acts in three ways to help prevent tooth decay:
- When teeth are developing in children fluoride gets taken up into these developing teeth and leads to stronger tooth structure that is more resistant to acid attack and tooth decay.
- It also has a topical (local) effect on the surface enamel making it stronger and more resistant to acid attack and tooth decay.
- Dental plaque is a factor in the causation of tooth decay. Fluoride reduces the ability of dental plaque to produce acid therefore reduces the incidence of tooth decay.
Fluoride is of course an important constituent of toothpaste. Here at Langley Dental Practice we recommend brushing twice a day once in the morning and once at night using a fluoride toothpaste. Brushing should take around two minutes. Brushing should be done before meals and not after. After toothbrushing do not rinse your mouth out but spit so that the fluoride in the toothpaste can stay on the teeth. We also advise the use of fluoride in the forms of tablets gels and mouthwashes depending upon your level of tooth decay. Sometimes fluoride gels are applies to the teeth using specially made mouth guards.
At Langley Dental Practice we follow the government's dental prevention strategy in the form of the "Delivering Better Oral Health" publication document. Therefore we undertake a program of applying fluoride varnish onto teeth at regular dental checkups for children. This is a very simple process which involves painting of the fluoride gel or varnish onto the surfaces of teeth every six months or more frequently depending on the level of dental health.
Here at Langley Dental Practice we support public fluoridation of water supplies.
For more information please telephone practice on 0161 643 2428.