Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, is essential for proper tooth development and prevention of tooth decay.

Fluoride has the ability to strengthen the outer layer of teeth called enamel and make it more resistant to decay. The enamel layer is often subject to acid attacks. These come directly from acidic foods and beverages that we eat and drink throughout the day or from decay-causing bacteria present in the mouth. This bacteria can break down sugars and produce acids that weaken the enamel and form cavities.

While you receive a certain amount of fluoride from your diet, or from using toothpaste with fluoride, Drs. Koehler, Soria and Padmanabhan may suggest further fluoride treatment if your child’s teeth are prone to decay or if you are not receiving a sufficient amount of fluoride from other sources.

A beneficial way to deliver fluoride to teeth is with in-office topical fluoride. Topical fluoride can take many forms: gel, foam, varnishes. The concentrations of these topical fluorides are much higher than in toothpaste. Some of the fluoride varnishes once applied to the tooth can continue to leach fluoride into the tooth surface for a month or more.

Another form of professional applied fluoride is Silver Diamine Fluoride. Silver Diamine Fluoride is new to American dentistry but has been used extensively in other countries to treat dental caries across the age spectrum. Some caries may be treated by applying this liquid called Silver Diamine Fluoride on decayed parts to help decelerate or even arrest decay. Silver Diamine Fluoride can be a good option for treatment of patients with extreme caries risk, those who cannot tolerate conventional care or those patients whose decay needs to be stabilized so that the decay can be restored over time.

For more information about fluoride please click here.