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How Does Fluoride Work? Princeton, NJ
woman showing her white teeth

30 years after we use fluoride treatment successfully in prevention of dental caries in the US, as a dental practitioner, I still get asked a lot when we recommend fluoride varnish in my office: “what does it really do?” The research on fluoridation and dental health has been extensive, but the peer reviewed journals are beyond comprehension in general population. We have been telling our patients that we should curtail the amount and frequency of sugar intake, clean their teeth diligently everyday to minimize plaque build up, use fluoridated toothpaste and fluoride varnish in office.

What is the science behind it?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Every day, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Minerals are lost (demineralization) from a tooth’s enamel layer when acids — formed from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth — attack the enamel. Minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate are redeposited (remineralization) to the enamel layer from the foods and waters consumed. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization to repair the enamel layer leads to tooth decay.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay. In children under 6 years of age, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also helps speed remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults by inhibiting key enzymes in acidogenesis of pathogenic bacteria.

In summary, fluoride is by far the most effective treatment and prevention measure for dental decay from the source. The American Dental Association recommends it to all kids and adults who have moderate to high risk for dental decay. These include people who have more than one dental caries, root surface exposure and dry mouth patients.

On top of daily oral hygiene protocol with brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, fluoride varnish treatment in dental office every 6 months is very effective. The concentration of fluoride varinshes is 50 more times than everyday fluoride. They are easily and quickly applied. They dry rapidly and will set even in the presence of saliva. It has a sticky consistency which helps it to adhere to the tooth’s surface thereby allowing the fluoride to stay in contact with the tooth for several hours. Based on published findings, professionally applied fluoride varnish does not appear to be a risk factor for dental fluorosis, even in children under the age of 6. This is due to the reduction in the amount of fluoride which may potentially be swallowed during the fluoride treatment because of the small quantities used and the adherence of the varnish to the teeth. Fluoride varnish treatments are shown to reduce the number of the cariogenic bacteria S. Mutans by over ten-fold.

Posted on behalf of Prime Dental Care

417 Wall St
Princeton, NJ, 08540

(609) 651-8618

Our Patient Reviews

4.8 / 5.0

Based on 60 reviews

Elliot V.

Prime Dental care has a great friendly staff. I had a wonderful experience with my hygienist Kate, she was very thorough, professional, and kind! Dr. Ma was informative and did a wonderful job of explaining everything. Would highly recommend Prime Dental Care!

Cody M.

Dr. Ma and her staff are very friendly and super thorough. They take the time to explain every part of the care and are invested in my overall dental health. I would recommend them to everyone!

Aidan L.

I came in for my first appointment with severe pain in my wisdom tooth and they were very helpful from the start. I don’t have insurance, but they have an in-house plan that’s very affordable and can save over $1000 a year and I’m definitely signing up for it. The hygienist was super kind and informative and the dentist was the same. I got here 30 mins early and they started me as soon as I finished my paperwork anyway. Thanks to everyone here for a great experience.

Vikram J.

Maggie was so detailed and perfect at her job. Was happy with the cleaning and the guidance provided to keep by teeth and gums healthy. Would recommend this place to everyone

Yogeswara R.

Dr. Ma and team are wonderful. We have been visiting here for our entire family dental care for many years. Clean facility and very knowledgeable staff.

Manshi J.

I came in today for regular ciening and Kate really did a great job. She also explained and demonstrated the correct way of flossing and brushing. Thank you!

Hao L.

Great service! I come here for my fillings and teeth cleanings. Have been feeling much better!

Missy P.

I have been coming to Prime Dental for over a year and everyone has been incredibly nice and helpful. Maggie is a wonderful dental hygienist, I recommend everyone go see her for a dental cleaning!

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Opening Hours

Monday

9AM - 6PM

Dr Ma

Tuesday

9AM - 6PM

Dr Patel

Wednesday

Closed

Thursday

9AM - 5PM

Dr Ma and Dr Haider

Friday

Closed

Saturday

9AM - 4PM

Dr Ma
and
Dr Haider

Sunday

Closed

Prime Dental Care 417 Wall St Princeton NJ, 08540