Why do we need fluoride? By Christine Fischer-Stoess

You may have noticed a new addition to your hygiene appointment at your most recent visit. The Dentist has incorporated fluoride treatment into the hygiene appointment. Fluoride, as you may already know, helps to prevent dental caries (tooth decay). Why are we choosing to offer this to our patients? The evidence for the efficacy of fluoride use in the prevention of tooth decay has always been very sound. Most of the adults we see in the practice are drinking water that is from the city supply, which is fluoridated at the amount of 1 part per million.1 This amount is well within acceptable ranges for fluoridated water and is considered to be an effective measure against dental caries.2

What we also know is that the population are maintaining their teeth for longer periods than ever before. This means that the majority of patients will have at least a few (we hope all!) of their natural teeth into their seventies and beyond. With tooth retention at a fantastic all time high we need to ensure that your teeth are as healthy as possible! The professional application of fluoride during the hygiene appointment will contribute to strong, caries resistant teeth. 3

Fluoride application will also help with remineralisation and prevention of caries in the cementum (root surfaces).3 As we age, we may have a few areas of recession appear and these can be from brushing too hard at one point, traumatic occlusion or frenum attachments, just to name a few! Whatever the cause of the recession, the cementum is not as hard as the enamel and we know that fluoride will help to strengthen, and therefore delay or prevent caries in this tissue.

We also have patients who experience tooth sensitivity. As many of you know, brushing with toothpaste for sensitive teeth can be a great help for achieving comfortable teeth but having the fluoride treatment will also help to further desensitize those surfaces. 4

These are a few of the reasons why we are using fluoride at The Dentist. For further information on fluoride and its place in dentistry, please have a look at the Australian Dental Association webpage at www.ada.org.au and click on the “Fluoride Now” link or give us a call or email us using the link on this site!

More information at http://www.thedentist.net.au

References

1)      http://www.sydneywater.com.au/Publications/Factsheets/WaterFiltrationProcesses.pdf

2)      http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5014a1.htm

3)      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1834-7819.2001.tb00270.x/pdf

4)      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1834-7819.2007.tb00464.x/pdf

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