Fluoride & Sealants
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including oceans, lakes and rivers. Research shows that fluoride helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making teeth more resistant to the acid attacks that cause cavities. Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter, helping repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay can be seen.
Fluoride can strengthen tooth enamel, help teeth resist decay, and reduce the effects of plaque and calculus. It also can prevent new cavities from getting larger and keep cavities from forming at the roots of teeth in adults whose gums have begun to recede or those who have had periodontal surgery.
Topical fluoride is the type of fluoride you receive at the dental office or when you use dental products—such as toothpastes or mouth rinses.
Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities. They are applied during a painless technique in which a thin plastic coating is applied to the chewing surfaces of the six and twelve year molars. Unlike fluorides, which mainly protect the smooth surfaces of the teeth, sealants are more effective on the rougher chewing surfaces and deep grooves of molars, where cavities can more easily form.
During your regular dental visits, the dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.
Once the decay process has started, it is too late to apply a sealant as a protective measure. It is also important to remember that sealants do not replace proper oral health habits including thorough brushing and flossing, and regular trips to the dentist.