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 ---- also helps keep your teeth healthy and strong?

Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities by coating you teeth and preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth's surface. Fluoride comes in two varieties, systemic and topical.

Systemic fluoride is ingested through a public water supply or through a chewable tablet if not available in your drinking water. While teeth are forming under the gums, the fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, making it stronger and more resistant to cavities. In the tablet form the dosage is as follows:

  • 0-3yrs. .25mg
  • 4-6yrs. .5mg
  • 7-14yrs. 1.0mg

Fluoride can also be applied topically to help prevent cavities on teeth present in the mouth. It is delivered through toothpaste, mouthwash, and professional fluoride applications.

A fluoride treatment in your dentists office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment patients may be asked not to rinse, eat sticky foods or drink hot liquids for 12 hours afterward to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. It is the one time that your hygienist will tell you not to brush your teeth that night!

There are many insurance companies that now pay for an adult topical application of fluoride. Check and see if your policy is one of them.