Question

Cavities

Does fluoride help prevent tooth decay?

A Answers (5)

  • Teeth cavities used to be a fact of life. But over the past few decades, tooth decay has been reduced dramatically. The key reason: fluoride. Research has shown that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Unfortunately, many people continue to be misinformed about fluoride and fluoridation. Fluoride is like any other nutrient; it is safe and effective when used appropriately.
  • ASupriya Verma, Dentist, answered

    Fluoride does help prevent tooth decay by helping teeth become stronger and more resistant to the acids that cause it to decay. Fluoride also helps teeth to remineralize and prevent sensitivity. This is why it is recommended to use a toothpaste with fluoride and a mouthwash with fluoride to continually replenish it on a daily basis.

  • AJames Markenson, DDS, Dentist, answered

    Yes, fluoride does prevent tooth decay. It can also slow down the rate of decay and it can remineralize decayed areas of teeth. Small areas of decay can harden, becoming normal hard tooth structure. Fluoride exerts its effects in different ways based on the age of the patient, type of fluoride, how it is administered. It can also desensitize sensitive teeth and has been proven to be antimicrobial. And those are just the good things. All medications must be used carefully and Fluoride is certainly no exception. It can cause Fluorosis in enamel (white spots) and can be a potential poison if taken inappropriately. Fluoride exerts its greatest effects as a tooth hardener only when the actual enamel is being formed. Therefore, in utero (while the mother is pregnant) until age 10 are the times the fluoride ion can incorporate with the hydroxyapatite crystal. After this age fluoride can only be forced at high concentration on the outer surface layer of the tooth. These concentrations can be dangerous to swallow, unlike the fluoride in the water system, and must be carefully applied. In addition the concentration of prescription fluoride can vary and the element with the fluoride can affect its action. By law, all over the counter fluoride must be at one level-not higher or lower. Children’s toothpaste can only have one strength, the same strength as adult teeth. I think fluoride is an excellent drug to use in dentistry, but I sometimes question the reason all fluoridated water is administered to all ages of people. Many may not need or want it in their water and some may think it will help their teeth; again, those over ten have no benefit from this low level of fluoride. It is important to understand how this element can affect teeth, to be best able to take advantage of its merits and control problems with its overuse.             

  • AThomas Connelly, Dentist, answered
    It would appear so. We do know that it strengthens tooth enamel. But we can have all the studies we want - the real proof is in the amount of cavities since fluoride became commonplace. They are down markedly. So yes, fluoride does help.
  • AWilliam M. Litaker, Dentist, answered

    Fluoride does help prevent tooth decay. It strengthens the enamel making the tooth more resistant to decay. Most communities fluoridate the water supply. In communities with no fluoridated water, you should talk to your dentist about having fluoride tablets prescribed for your children and a fluoride rinse for adults. Individuals having a lot of cavities also benefit from fluoride rinses.

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