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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) 688-8818

Prime Dental Care

Our Patient Reviews

4.8 / 5.0

Based on 185 reviews

Ms P.

My husband has been going to Dr Ma and this practice for many years and swears by them so I thought I would try it out. Very pleasant and professional with a great location and good availability, they respond to queries in a timely way and provide reminders for appointments via text which is great since some practices appear to be in the dark ages on some of the practical stuff. Everyone seems to try to ensure you have a pleasant visit (in spite of being to the dentist!) so kudos to the whole operation. Also, a lot of care has been taken to go above and beyond the requirements of hygiene during this pandemic including state-of-the-art air filtration systems.

Jay J.

Starting from reception to the assistant to the doctors they are so amazing. I have major dental anxiety and they were above and beyond sweet and nice to me. I have come back after a root canal and I can go for a run I feel that good and comfortable with them. They rock! They are awesome- I highly recommend this place

Xiao L.

I’m experiencing a very painful toothache during the COVID-19 period. Thanks for Dr. Ma’s quick response using the “teledentistry”, I got a timely and precise diagnosis without having to step out of my house. I really appreciated their help at this moment!

Zoe F.

I have been here multiple times with Maggie and Dr.Patel. Both of them are amazing and make you feel very comfortable the whole time!

Riya P.

Everyone here is very friendly and is willing to help you. It is a very good experience here! Highly recommend coming here!

Sandy W.

Everyone there is friendly and professional. They have taken great care of me every time I’ve visited.

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!

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Prime Dental Care 417 Wall St Princeton NJ, 08540