Fluoride Products

 

Fluoride Rinse

What is fluoride rinse?

Fluoride mouth rinse is a concentrated liquid solution that helps protect against tooth decay. The fluoride in rinse, like that from toothpaste, becomes incorporated into the surface of teeth, making them more resistant to decay. The most common fluoride compound used in mouth rinse is sodium fluoride.

How does fluoride rinse work?

Fluoride rinse helps protect against tooth decay in the same way that fluoride toothpastes work: by strengthening the hard outer enamel surface of teeth against acid attacks.

When you swish or gargle with fluoride rinse, fluoride remains in the plaque and saliva in your mouth even after you spit out the rinse. This fluoride helps redeposit needed minerals on the surface of your teeth, protecting them from plaque attacks.

Should I use fluoride rinse?

For many people—especially those whose water supply already contains fluoride—maintaining oral health between dental visits is possible by brushing regularly with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and avoiding snacks. But if your water supply is not fluoridated, you may benefit from fluoride rinse.

You may also need fluoride rinse or other topical fluoride treatment if you are taking medications that cause dry mouth or have a disease that causes dry mouth. Without saliva to neutralize acids in your mouth and wash away food particles, you’re more susceptible to tooth decay. If you wear braces or other orthodontic appliances, which tend to trap bacteria that can lead to cavities, you may also want to consider a fluoride rinse.

Ask your dental professional if a fluoride rinse makes sense for you. Whether or not you use a rinse, you should use a fluoride toothpaste, which have been proven to help prevent tooth decay.

Is fluoride rinse safe?

Fluoride-containing mouth rinses are safe and effective when used as directed. Because some young children might swallow substantial amounts of mouth rinse 1, children under the age of 6 should be supervised when using fluoride rinse.

Portions of this article have been sourced from research and articles by the American Dental Association.

1. Ripa LW. J Public Health Dent 1991;51:23–41.

Topical Fluoride

What is topical fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride can be obtained in two forms: topical and systemic. Topical fluorides are applied directly to the tooth enamel and, in many older people, to exposed root surfaces. Some examples of topical fluorides include fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, as well as fluoride treatments in the dental office.

Systemic fluorides are those that are swallowed. Primary sources of systemic fluoride are fluoridated water, salt and milk.

How do topical fluorides work?

Topical fluorides strengthen teeth such that the fluoride is incorporated into the surface of teeth, making them more resistant to decay.

Every day, minerals are added to the enamel layer of teeth, a process called “remineralization,” and lost from the enamel layer when plaque acids attack the enamel called “demineralization.” Topical fluorides help prevent cavities and can help reverse early tooth decay by encouraging remineralization, slowing demineralization, and interfering with the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Topical fluorides can also be applied to the cementum or dentine on exposed root surfaces in adults.

Fluoride Toothpaste

What is fluoride toothpaste?

Toothpastes are pastes, gels or powders that help remove plaque and strengthen tooth enamel. Plaque is a film of bacteria that forms in the mouth and can damage teeth and gums. Toothpaste with fluoride added is called fluoride toothpaste. The fluoride added to toothpaste helps protect against tooth decay by strengthening the enamel of teeth (the shiny outer layer) and interfering with bacterial growth.

Why is fluoride toothpaste important?

In children under six years of age, fluoride is important for the development of healthy permanent teeth. In adults, fluoride helps reverse early stages of tooth decay. For these reasons, many health organizations around the world recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride-containing toothpaste.

How do fluoride toothpastes work?

Your teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Following a meal or snack, the bacteria release acids that attack tooth enamel. Repeated attacks can cause the enamel to break down, eventually resulting in cavities.

Fluoride toothpastes help prevent tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to these acid attacks. They also help reverse early tooth decay.

Are fluoride toothpastes safe?

When used as recommended, fluoride toothpastes are safe and effective. As a precaution, however, do not swallow toothpaste. Use only a pea-sized amount for children under six. To prevent swallowing, children under six should be supervised in the use of toothpaste.

High-quality toothpastes that are endorsed by professional organizations should be used to ensure safety and effectiveness. Many fluoride toothpastes also contain other ingredients designed to reduce tooth sensitivity, reduce gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), or whiten teeth.

Glossary