Fluoride is a chemical ion of fluorine which is found naturally in rocks, soil and water. Fluorine is combined with sodium to create a fluoride compound that makes your teeth stronger and prevents cavities. When fluoride is in your saliva, it is the strongest method to protect your teeth. Saliva has fluoride in it from sources like toothpaste and water.
Fluoride makes the tooth stronger and more resistant to acid attacks from plaque and sugar. Children who still have their baby teeth, fluoride is able to incorporate into their permanent teeth to make them stronger at eruption. Fluoride is also able to remineralize a tooth surface that is high risk for decay. When you brush with a fluorinated toothpaste or have a varnish applied at the dental office, the fluoride is applied directly to the enamel and starts the protection process. When you drink fluorinated water, it becomes part of your saliva and constantly bathes the teeth in fluoride.
Fluoride varnishes are safe and have the highest amount of fluoride protection. Their benefits last 4-6 months of effective defense against cavity causing bacteria. They are used by dental professionals all over the world to help prevent tooth decay. Only a small amount of varnish is used which prevents the chances of swallowing the varnish. It is applied quickly and hardens immediately.
Drinking tap water, brushing twice a day, eating healthy foods, are a great start to preventing dental decay. If you are at high risk for decay, Dr. Geisler may recommend a prescription strength toothpaste or a fluoride treament..