Using fluoride to protect your teeth
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay by coating your teeth. It also prevents plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface.
Fluoride comes in two varieties, topical and systemic
- Topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth and includes toothpastes and mouth rinses.
- Systemic fluorides are generally used only by your dentist and are not often available for at-home use. Systemic fluoride treatments are designed to help protect the oral health of children undergoing dental procedures. Fluoride used in the dentist’s or orthodontist’s office usually comes in a stronger concentration than in toothpaste or mouthwash, but it is available at some drug stores or pharmacies (ask your dentist before purchasing professional-strength fluoride).
Receiving a fluoride treatment from your dentist
A fluoride treatment in your dentist's office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride.
Depending on your oral health or your doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months. Dr. Kim may also prescribe an at-home fluoride product such as a mouthwash, gel, or antibacterial rinse.