Your child brushes her teeth twice a day, flosses regularly, and visits the dentist every six months. But did you know that rinsing with fluoride – a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay – also helps keep her teeth healthy and strong?
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay by coating teeth and preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth's surface.
Systemic fluoride is ingested, usually through a public water supply. While teeth are forming under the gums, the fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, making it stronger and more resistant to cavities.
Silver Diamine Topical Fluoride (SDF)
Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is an FDA-approved topical solution that treats and prevents dental caries and reduces tooth sensitivity. It is made with two acting ingredients: the silver component is an anti-microbial agent that kills bacteria and prevents the formation of new biofilm, and the fluoride prevents further demineralization (softening) of the tooth structure.
SDF is a simple and noninvasive way to treat carious lesions (cavities). The process is simple:
- The teeth are brushed without paste and rinsed
- The carious teeth are isolated, kept dry, and all excess debris is removed
- A microbrush is dipped in a drop of SDF and placed on the lesion(s) for two minutes
- Excess SDF is removed and patients are instructed to not eat or drink for one hour
The Advantages of SDF:
- Provides immediate relief from tooth hypersensitivity
- Kills the organisms that cause cavities
- Hardens softened dentin making it more acid and abrasion resistant
- Does not stain sound dentin or enamel
Receiving a fluoride treatment from your dentist
A fluoride treatment in the dentist's office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients may be asked to not rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your child's oral health or your doctor's recommendation, your child may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe at-home fluoride products such as mouthwash, gels, or antibacterial rinses.
How to choose the right fluoride treatment
When choosing an at-home fluoride product (such as toothpaste or mouthwash), always check for the American Dental Association's (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined and approved by the ADA based on safety and effectiveness.