Fluoridation of the teeth is the process of coating baby and permanent teeth in children with a fluid or a gel containing sodium fluoride. This is a painless procedure and is suitable for children because they do not yet have thorough and well-practiced habit of tooth brushing.
Fluorides are compounds of fluorine and other chemical elements, such as sodium. Sodium fluoride has been shown to be very useful in preventing tooth decay.
Reasons for fluoridation of the teeth
The process of demineralization and remineralisation constantly takes place in the oral cavity.
- Demineralisation occurs when the saliva is very acidic, e.g. after eating. At that time, calcium and phosphorus, which are important for bone and teeth health, dissolve and decay. Tooth enamel becomes weaker and less resistant to caries creation.
- When the saliva is less acidic, remineralisation occurs, i.e. calcium and phosphorus are re-incorporated into the teeth. Studies have shown that fluorine stimulates remineralization of tooth enamel.
With the activity of fluorine, the enamel becomes stronger than when fluorine is not present. Thus, fluorine contributes to making the tooth more resistant to caries creation.
Teeth fluoridation at home
Since children still do not have developed and well-practiced teeth brushing habits, we should help them preserve their teeth health.
Parents are always advised to help the kids keeping better dental hygiene by their elementary school years. School children, however, should be supervised if they continue to maintain healthy habits. More advice on dental hygiene for children is available on our website “Pediatric dentistry“.
One of the ways we can help the kids to keep the teeth healthy is to use fluoride gel at home. Home teeth fluoridation should be carried out according to the dentist’s instructions.
If a dentist advises the fluoride gel you can buy it at a pharmacy and include into your kid’s teeth hygiene. This is especially recommended if a dentist notices a that a child is prone to caries.
Public fluoridation of the teeth
Fluorides are common in nature and can be found in the earth’s crust and water. In addition to other elements useful for bone development and health, such as calcium and vitamin D, they are also added to some foods, such as milk.
Many states add fluoride to tap water, and the first country that has begun to do so is the USA. By analyzing the water we consume in Croatia, it has been found that it contains many fluorides. Therefore fluorides are not added to drinking water in Croatia.
In addition to the fluoridation gel, sodium fluoride can be found in toothpastes. The concentration of fluorides in a toothpaste is strictly prescribed, so when buying it, attention should be paid to the age at which the toothpaste is intended.
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