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Fluoride – Why We’re Fans

Whatever your politics, the topical effects of fluoride are well known. It renders enamel more resistant to decay after it is incorporated into enamel’s crystal structure.

Barrie water is not fluoridated, so we are strong advocates of regular fluoride exposure for your teeth.  Alarmingly, the decay rate in children for the Muskoka-Simcoe area is amongst the worst of all the Health Units in Ontario.  We feel that fluoride is one of the best tools at our disposal for preventing decay.  But how is it best applied?  Should we use the high-concentration fluoride toothpastes such as Colgate’s Prevident 5000?  Should we use Oral-B’s weekly 0.2% fluoride rinse?  Should we give people professional-grade fluoride treatments at every dentist visit?

The answer to the above questions is maybe, no, and not if you’re an adult.  Let’s explore:

Fluoride is best incorporated into teeth at low-dose, chronic exposures.  Meaning:  better to expose your teeth to small amounts of the stuff for longer periods of time than by blasting your teeth with short, high-dose bursts.  This can be done by brushing your teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste for the prescribed 2 minutes a time twice a day.  Rinsing with a 0.05% sodium fluoride DAILY rinse (as opposed to the aforementioned weekly rinse) will also help.  Swallowing fluoride will not help teeth that have already emerged into your mouth.

As always, there are exceptions.  Children benefit from professional fluoride treatments because their teeth have not been exposed to as much fluoride – the type we give will help accelerate the incorporation of fluoride into the teeth but should not be overused.

People with dry mouth problems (usually from medication, but also those who have had radiation to salivary glands or autoimmune diseases) and vomiting/heartburn problems will also benefit from more fluoride.  This is where we get into specific recommendations such as fluoride gels in trays, fluoride varnishes, and high-concentration fluoride toothpastes.  So, the message is: don’t worry about the higher concentration stuff unless you have a condition that warrants it.

Please contact us for details and recommendations specific to your own oral health!  Please call 705.721.1143!

Dr. Elston Wong Portrait

About Dr. Elston Wong

Dr. Elston Wong completed his dental degree at The University of Toronto in 1999 before arriving in Barrie in 2002. After graduating, he continued to learn everything he could about dentistry. Now he has taken the time to share important information for anyone to read.

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