Fluoride

Using Fluoride to Protect Your Teeth

You brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and visit the dentist every six months, but did you know that rinsing with fluoride — a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay — can also help keep your teeth healthy and strong?

Fluoride comes in two varieties, systemic and topical:

  • Systemic fluoride is ingested, usually through a public water supply. While teeth are forming under the gums, the fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, making it stronger and more resistant to cavities.
  • Rockville, MD gets fluoride added to its water supply.
  • Poolesville, MD gets water from a series of wells and there is no fluoride in the water. That is why we recommend children take fluoride vitamins.  Please ask us about this the next time you're in the Poolesville office.
  • Fluoride can also be applied topically to help prevent caries (cavities) on teeth present in the mouth. It is delivered through toothpaste, mouthwash, and professional fluoride applications.

Receiving a fluoride treatment from your dentist

A fluoride treatment in your dentist's office takes just a few minutes. A fluoride varnish is applied to the teeth with a small brush. After the treatments, patients are allowed to eat and drink. After a minimum of 4 hours, patients may brush or floss. 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. Your doctor may also prescribe an at-home fluoride product such as mouthwash, gel, or antibacterial rinse.

How to choose the right fluoride treatment

When choosing your own at-home fluoride product (such as toothpaste or mouthwash), always check for the American Dental Association's (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined by the ADA, and approved based on safety and effectiveness. 

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