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Fluoride is a mineral compound that is naturally found in water and soil. It prevents tooth decay by causing the entire tooth surface to become more resistant to acid made from the bacteria that live in your mouth. Fluoride also aids in repairing decay before a cavity even forms and can also aid in adding calcium back into your teeth.

There are two ways to promote fluoride defense: topical and systemic applications.

Topical fluoride is applied directly to the teeth which absorbs the mineral. It is usually found in products like tooth pastes and rinses. This is a very safe way to utilize fluoride to fight tooth decay as the products are rinsed from your mouth and are not swallowed. Some concentrated fluoride foams or gels are applied by the dentist and left on for a few minutes before rinsed away.

Systemic fluoride is absorbed through drinking fluoridated water, supplements or foods and beverages. The fluoride is absorbed through the stomach and then blood distributes it through the body. This kind of fluoride is absorbed by teeth that have not even erupted yet. It also occurs in saliva which continually rinses teeth providing uninterrupted protection.

If you drink mostly bottled water, you are missing out on the fluoride protection provided by tap water and should speak to Dr. Silva about fluoride supplements.

Children’s developing teeth easily absorb fluoride and this can cause Dental Fluorosis, which is a harmless cosmetic discoloring of the tooth enamel. Parents should monitor the amount of fluoride their children are getting to make sure they don’t ingest too much. Dr. Silva can help you find the right amount for your children.

Keep those teeth sparkling!


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Bruce Silva D.D.S. Austin Dentist