Fluoride 101


If you aren’t practicing good dental hygiene – regular dental visits, brushing twice a day, and flossing daily – your teeth will become susceptible to the acid-producing bacteria that collect around your teeth, called plaque. Another key ingredient that people tend to forget about when practicing good dental hygiene is using fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay, and can actually help and repair teeth in the beginning stages of dental disease. There are two forms of fluoride: topical and systemic.

Topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth’s enamel. The most popular topical fluoride comes in the form of toothpaste or mouthwash. Systemic fluoride is swallowed. Examples of systemic fluoride are fluoridated water and dietary fluoride treatments.

Dentists have used in-office fluoride treatments for decades to help protect their patients oral health, especially when their patients develop tooth decay. In an article written by the American Dental Association, some factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing tooth decay include the following:

  • Poor oral hygiene

  • Eating disorders

  • Drug or alcohol abuse

  • Lack of regular professional care

  • High levels of bacteria in the mouth

  • Poor diet

  • Existing fillings

  • Tooth enamel defects

If you or anyone you know are at high risk of tooth decay, the office of Dr. Shane McDowell provide a full array of dental care services, and pay special attention to your comfort and health. Dr. Shane McDowell recommends using a fluoride rinse at night, which can help protect the enamel from decaying. Call or go online to schedule an appointment with Dr. McDowell to make sure your mouth is in the best shape possible. Visit www.myfortmyersdentist.com/appointment or call (239) 936-0597.

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