1. What is fluorine?
  2. How does fluoride work?
  3. How is fluoride applied?
  4. What is the indicated amount of fluoride?

What is fluoride?

Fluoridation is the procedure by which fluoride is applied to the teeth to prevent caries. Fluoride is a mineral element that acts as a protective enamel against bacteria and makes the external surface of the teeth more resistant to acid attacks.

This treatment can be carried out by means of rinses (mouthwashes), gels, varnishes and toothpastes. However, fluoride in large quantities is toxic and should therefore be avoided.

How does fluoride work?

Fluoride works in two ways:

  • It concentrates on children’s developing teeth and strengthens the enamel. It also helps rebuild weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of decay.
  • It helps harden tooth enamel in adults.

After the ingestion of food, acids produce a demineralization, a dissolution of the calcium and phosphorus found under the tooth surface. At other times the opposite occurs, i.e. saliva helps to replenish the calcium and phosphorus that maintain the strength of the teeth. This process is known as remineralization. In this way, fluoride helps to strengthen the minerals and thus the teeth.

Fluoride is an effective treatment
to prevent tooth decay

How is fluoride applied?

Patients can use low-concentration toothpastes and mouthwashes on a daily basis, which is the simplest way to apply the treatment. On the other hand, the technique most commonly used by specialists in the office is the gel, which is deposited in molds adapted to the patient’s teeth for a maximum of four minutes. During the process, the dentist will place an aspirator to prevent the patient from unintentionally swallowing some of the gel. At the end of the process, the patient should spit to eliminate the remaining gel and avoid swallowing it.

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What is the amount of fluoride indicated?

It is advisable to drink water with fluoride, since this is found in most water sources. If the water in the area contains fluoride with an ordinary toothbrush and a suitable toothpaste, caries can be avoided in children and adults with healthy teeth. On the other hand, if the water in the area is low in fluoride, the dental specialist will prescribe the amount of supplemental fluoride to be added during regular brushing.