fluoride varnish

Tackling the Myths about Fluoride

November 17th, 2020

You’ve come in for your routine checkup and your hygienist has suggested that you apply fluoride to your teeth. You know that fluoride is in some toothpastes, so you may wonder why do you need extra? In today’s post we will tackle the myths about fluoride:

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral found in your food and water. This mineral is lost when acid from the plaque on your teeth performs a process called demineralization. If too much demineralization occurs, this results in a weakened tooth structure.  When this happens, the tooth has a higher chance of developing a cavity.

Myth #1

Fluoride should not be in drinking water

Truth: Fluoride is found naturally in almost all water supplies.  Even though it is found naturally in water, this is not enough to protect our teeth. It is recommended that your water’s fluoride  levels be at 0.7 parts per million of water to be the most effective.

Myth #2

Fluoride is a medication

Truth: Fluoride is not medicine. It is a mineral. When proper amounts are consumed, decay is less rampant and teeth are healthier and stronger.

Myth #3

Fluoride causes cancer

Fact: There is no scientific evidence to prove this. In fact, The National Cancer Institute has performed decades of studies that debunk this. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that fluoridation is one of the top 10 public health achievements within the last 20 years.

Myth #4

Fluoride is not good for young children

Fact: When children drink fluoridated water, the enamel of their teeth becomes strengthened at an early age.

Myth #5

Fluoride can damage my teeth

Fact: This is partially true. While decay is much more damaging, high levels of fluoride can cause a condition called fluorosis. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), fluorosis is the appearance of faint, white lines on teeth in children who have consumed too much fluoride. In most cases, the appearance is mild.  After the age of 8, the chances of fluorosis decreases.  For children younger 3, it is recommended that parents brush their teeth with toothpaste equivalent to the size of a grain of rice. For children 3-6, a parent should use a pea sized amount.

Types of Fluoride

Topical Fluoride: aids in the remineralization of teeth and stops bacteria from growing. This reduces the amount of plaque on teeth.

  • Toothpaste: is the most commonly used self-applied fluoride. When used, the fluoride concentration in your saliva increases 100-1000 fold. However this is short term as the fluoride baseline returns to normal in 1-2 hours. Most over the counter toothpastes have a concentration of 1,000-1,500 ppm.

  • Mouth rinses or gels are to be used daily or weekly. These are meant to be rinsed out of the mouth. Use in children under the age of 6 is not recommended. These mouth washes have 230 ppm of fluoride.

  • Fluoride varnish is applied professionally by a health care professional. This allows for high concentrations of fluoride to come in contact with teeth for several hours. It is recommended that fluoride is applied twice a year for the best benefits. According to the CDC, there is no evidence that professionally applied fluoride leads to fluorosis in children under the age of 6.

Systemic Fluoride: fluoride that is consumed

  • Water fluoridation is the most inexpensive way to receive fluoride to prevent tooth decay. Studies have shown that it is effective in reducing tooth decay in children and adults by up to 20-40%.
  • Dietary fluoride can be prescribed for children who are 6 months and older that are high risk for tooth decay. Tablets or lozenges are prescribed in the concentrations of 0.25, 0.5, or 1.0 mg. These are meant to be sucked on for 1-2 minutes before swallowing. The following guidelines are recommended by the ADA. All prescriptions should follow this guideline.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.








Is it Possible to Remineralize Tooth Enamel?

December 19th, 2019

How much do you know about tooth remineralization? Tooth remineralization is a normal process that happens each day within our mouths. Remineralization repairs the outer layer of our tooth, also known as enamel, which is known to be the hardest substance in our body. Tooth enamel comprises approximately 96% minerals including hydroxyapatite. Hydroxyapatite is made up of calcium, phosphate, and hydroxide, which are important for the integrity of our teeth. Naturally, the process of demineralization, otherwise known as the loss of minerals, happens when the normal bacteria within your mouth feed on the foods we eat and produce acids. Thus, it is important when consuming sugary and acidic foods and beverages to take necessary precautions to protect your teeth. For instance, consuming acidic items in moderation, rinsing with water afterwards, and practicing good oral hygiene habits. That is why our diet and lifestyle choices play an important role in the health of our teeth.

So, how do teeth become remineralized? Turns out, we can thank our saliva for playing a major role in protecting and repairing our tooth enamel. Saliva not only helps wash food away from adhering to your teeth, but it also neutralizes harmful acids. A healthy pH for our mouths is typically around 7.5 to 8.5. Once the pH drops below 5.5, this is when demineralization of tooth enamel begins to occur. The process of demineralization can lead our teeth to develop white spots or cavities. Saliva also consists of many minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and fluoride ions which all help boost enamel remineralization. That is why dry mouth, which can occur due to certain medications, medical conditions, or lack of water consumption for instance, can be detrimental to your oral health and put you at an increased risk of developing tooth decay. It is important to inform your dentist of your medical history during each visit.

We want our tooth enamel to stay strong so that our teeth last a lifetime. To promote the remineralization process within the oral cavity, make sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each time, and floss at least once a day. Be sure to consume foods rich in vitamins and minerals, including vegetables, cheese, fish, and eggs. Regular dental check-ups are key to help stop demineralization early and to treat it before they become cavities.








Everything You Need to Know about Fluoride Varnish

September 29th, 2018

"My child's baby teeth are going to fall out eventually anyway, so what's the point in taking care of them?" This is a common question that many parents face. Baby teeth are necessary for a variety of reasons, including guiding permanent teeth into their proper positions. You also want to make sure that they remain healthy in order to prevent your child from developing a systemic infection, an abscess, or from experiencing pain. As soon as your child's baby teeth appear, make sure that you are brushing them and scheduling regular dental visits. As they become older, make learning how to brush fun through singing songs, brushing alongside your child, or even using toothbrushes and cool flavors of toothpaste that they pick out themselves.

Fluoride varnish is an important part of dental treatment as research shows that it helps prevent and stop the progression of cavities in baby teeth. It does this by remineralizing tooth enamel. Cavities form when bacteria found within dental plaque produce acid that eats away teeth. Since enamel is more sensitive in baby teeth than in permanent teeth, children are especially susceptible to developing cavities.

Applying fluoride varnish on your child is safe, quick, and painless! Fluoride varnish is brushed around the surfaces of each tooth and becomes a hard layer once saliva interacts with it. Once applied, food and beverages can be consumed with the exception of extremely hot or cold items. For 4-6 hours avoid brushing or flossing.

It's also important to note that fluoride treatments are not just for children. Individuals at a high risk for developing cavities should have fluoride! Fluoride is found in many toothpastes, most community water supply's, and several other products.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Van. Dr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.





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