Our guest blogger today is Emily Burris, a Registered Dental Hygienist, that proudly serves patients in our Matthews location. She is a native North Carolinian, sharing her passion for dental education for the last four years she is a definite asset to our team at Landmark Dentistry.

As a Hygienist my job is to first clean your teeth and provide a healthy environment for your teeth, but more importantly to educate you on the ways you can keep your teeth and mouth as healthy as possible at home. After all, we only see you for one hour every six months.

In providing education one of the many questions we get is “Why do I need fluoride?” or “What is the purpose of fluoride?”.

Fluoride offers many benefits to patients such as improving the integrity of your enamel and preventing future cavities.

Let’s start with what fluoride is. Fluoride is a mineral that is found in the majority of all water sources and is a trace element of fluorine. Fluorine can be found in the environment and enters groundwater through soil and rocks.

Fluoride can be delivered in two ways; Systemically and Topically. Systemic fluoride helps internally in the forming of tooth structure. Systemic fluorides are those that are ingested, either through dietary supplements or through your community water supply that is regulated at a healthy level to help prevent tooth decay.

The other way to receive fluoride is through a topical application. This way helps to strengthen teeth already present in the mouth helping make them more decay resistant. Topical fluoride comes in many forms as self-applied fluorides and through professional applications.

Self-applied forms can be found in fluoridated toothpastes, mouth rinses and gels all found over the counter or through prescriptions by your dental provider. Professional applications of fluoride are applied in office by means of high fluoride mouth rinses, gels and foams, prophy paste used during cleanings, and fluoride varnishes.

Studies have shown that through regular fluoride varnish applications, reapplied twice per year you will receive sustained benefits that will continually prevent tooth decay.

A main concern that most patients have is the possibility of fluorosis. Fluorosis is a process which may occur when excessive amounts of fluoride are ingested during tooth development.

When used as directed fluoride is very safe and effective agent that provides many benefits to the health of a patients teeth.

Overall, fluoride is a very normal and natural part of maintaining a healthy mouth. We highly recommend you receive fluoride applications regularly as a normal part of your hygiene routine appointments.