Fluoride in the dental practice

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element found in some foods such as fish, tea and legumes. It is widely used in dentistry, but many parents of children with Region of Murcia sometimes ask themselves: "What is it for, how do I use it, is it beneficial for my children's dental health?

Well, it is a compound that acts primarily on tooth enamel (the hardest tissue in the human body), which is made up of small crystals of hydroxyapatite. When the fluoride comes into contact with the tooth in formationThe latter is able to assimilate it and add it to its structure, forming fluorhydroxyapatite crystals, which are more resistant to acid attack by bacteria.

Thus, its regular application at high concentration in a dental practice makes the teeth of the youngest members of the household less susceptible to caries in the future, which is an advantage and which, after many years of studies, is important in reducing the risk of dental disease.

Developing teeth become stronger with regular application of topical fluoride.
Developing teeth become stronger with regular application of topical fluoride.

How is it used?

There are several ways of applying it, all of which have been proven effective by the international scientific community:

  • The first, systemic route, involves ingesting it and having it pass through the bloodstream to the tooth. This would be the case with fluoride incorporated into food and water.
  • Similarly, a few years ago, fluoride tablets or drops were prescribed for children, a technique that has been progressively replaced by topical fluoride, the third form of fluoride administration.
  • Topical application is usually carried out by means of toothpastes and mouthwashes (which can be used at home) and gels or varnishes (which are applied to the teeth). dental clinic by the dentist or hygienist due to its higher concentration).
Fluoride gel application with a bucket
Fluoride gel application with a bucket

Who can benefit from its effects?

This preventive measure is mainly indicated in children, as fluoride is assimilated in the forming tooth. However, its use would also be indicated in adult patients when there is an initial caries lesion that can be remineralised (we must bear in mind that only those caries lesions that only affect the enamel are remineralised, and not those that have reached the dentine).

Thus, we can conclude that fluoride is an effective measure for the prevention of caries, when applied in the appropriate dosage. If in doubt about the appropriate dosage for an adult or a child, you should consult an paediatric dentistwho will advise you on the needs of each patient based on their risk of dental caries.

Clara Serna Muñoz

Degree in Dentistry

Master's Degree in Paediatric Dentistry

San Rafael Hospital in Madrid