Articles on fluoride

Fluoride: Fad or Fact (Part I)?

Dr. Ragini Parmar, Dentist
Fluoride is a mineral that we interact with on a daily basis. Fluoride is nature's fighting mechanism against cavities and tooth decay. Hence, fluoride is added to toothpastes, mouth rinses and drinking water to provide dental benefits. However, the right amount of fluoride intake is crucial. Both, deficiency and over intake of fluoride can have detrimental effects on our body, specifically during pregnancy and infancy stages.Benefits of FluorideOur teeth are susceptible to mineral loss, due to acids formed from plaque bacteria and sugars in our mouth. This is known as demineralisation. When these minerals are not restored to the enamel layer, it leads to tooth decay and cavities. This is the major factor behind mothers forbidding their children from eating chocolates as kids!Fluoride changes the structure of the outer layer of the tooth in its development stages, making our teeth more resistant to acid attack.It helps in re-depositing lost minerals to the enamel layer. This process is known as remineralisation. Remineralisation strengthens the enamel and improves its quality.Fluoride reduces the ability of plaque bacteria to produce acid. This is the most important factor for countering tooth decay.Sources of FluorideThere are numerous options to cater to our fluoride needs. Consulting your dentist is strongly recommended before resorting to any particular method.Drinking Water: Water fluoridation is the most inexpensive method for fluoride intake.Fluoride Toothpaste: Dentists recommend fluoride toothpastes for children and adults. Children must use toothpaste with lower concentration of fluoride.Mouth Rinses: These are recommended for people particularly prone to tooth decay.Supplements: When drinking water does not suffice your fluoride needs, fluoride supplements in the form of tablets, liquids, and lozenges are recommended.Fluoride Varnish: In some cases of fluoride deficiency, the dentist directly applies varnish with higher fluoride concentration to the surface of both, baby and adult teeth.This is not all. Fluoride also poses many health risks for infants, pregnant women, and others alike. It is important to be aware of these facts and the best ways to tackle them. We will be covering the same in the next post. So stay tuned.

Fluoride Varnish , the Best Way to Prevent Dental Cavities

Dr. Rohit Kale, Dentist
Fluoride Varnish: What Parents Need to KnowHealthy gums and teeth are important to your child's overall health. This is why your child's doctor will talk with you about good dental habits even before your child's first tooth appears.  Once your child has a tooth, your doctor may recommend that your child receive fluoride varnish treatments in the dental office to help prevent tooth decay. This can be done 2 to 4 times per year. The number of treatments depends on how likely it is that your child may get a cavity. What is Fluoride Varnish?Fluoride varnish is a dental treatment that can help prevent tooth decay, slow it down, or stop it from getting worse. Fluoride varnish is made with fluoride, a mineral that can strengthen tooth enamel (outer coating on teeth).  Keep in mind that fluoride varnish treatments cannot completely prevent cavities. Fluoride varnish treatments can best help prevent decay when a child is also brushing using the right amount of toothpaste with fluoride, flossing regularly, getting regular dental care, and eating a healthy diet.  Is Fluoride Varnish Safe?Fluoride varnish is safe and used by dentists all over the world to help prevent tooth decay in children. Only a small amount is used, and hardly any fluoride is swallowed. It is quickly applied and hardens. Then it is brushed off after 4 to 12 hours.  Some brands of fluoride varnish make teeth look yellow. Other brands make teeth look dull. However, the color of your child's teeth will return to normal after the fluoride varnish is brushed off. Most children like the taste. How is Fluoride Varnish Put on the Teeth?Fluoride varnish is painted on the top and sides of each tooth with a small brush. It is sticky but hardens once it comes in contact with saliva. Your child may feel the hardened varnish with his tongue but will not be able to lick the varnish off.  It does not hurt when the varnish is applied. However, young children may still cry before or during the procedure. Fortunately, brushing on the varnish takes only a few minutes. Also, applying the varnish may be easier when a child is crying because his mouth will be slightly open.  You may be asked to hold your child in your lap while you are placed knee-to-knee with the person applying the varnish. How Do I Care for My Child's Teeth After Fluoride Varnish is Applied?Here are general guidelines on how to care for your child's teeth after fluoride varnish is applied. Check with your child's doctor for any other special instructions. Your child can eat and drink right after the fluoride varnish is applied. But only give your child soft foods and cold or warm (not hot) foods or liquids.Do not brush or floss teeth for at least 4 to 6 hours. Your child's doctor may tell you to wait until the next morning to brush or floss. Remind your child to spit when rinsing, if he knows how to spit.Remember: Steps to good dental health include: Regular care by a dentist trained to treat young childrenGetting enough fluorideRegular brushing and flossingEating rightThe IDA recommends that all infants receive oral health risk assessments by 6 months of age. Infants at higher risk of early dental caries should be referred to a dentist as early as 6 months of age .

Fluoride: Fad or Fact?

Dr. Ragini Parmar, Dentist
Visiting your family dentist in Mumbai or somewhere near you is the first step towards maintaining oral hygiene. What your dentist will also guide you on are the minerals your body needs, and the ones you should avoid. Regarding one mineral in particular, fluoride, we have already covered the various benefits and sources of fluoride. Today, we will be covering the health risks of fluoride and the precautions one should take.Health Risks of FluorideToo much of anything can be harmful to the body. While fluoride is extremely efficient in fighting tooth decay, over consumption of fluoride is known to have adverse effects on the body.Exposure to fluoride during pregnancy can result in premature birth of the child. High levels of fluoride increases the risk of anaemia in pregnant women.Early exposure to fluoride results in lower IQ and hyperactivity during childhood.Over ingestion of fluoride during developmental stages of a child results in discolouration and brown spots on the surface of teeth, known as dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is associated with skeletal and endocrine problems.Exposure to high levels of fluoride causes vision impairment and bone deformities.Precautions to Avoid Adverse Effects of FluorideIt is important to monitor fluoride intake right from the grass root level. Preventive care needs to be taken right from pregnancy and breastfeeding, up to infancy and throughout childhood.Pregnant women must avoid all forms of fluoride intake in the form of fluoridated water, tablets, supplements etc. They should consume filtered drinking water. Infants can excrete only 15% of the ingested fluoride. The excess fluoride accumulates in the body and can lead to bone deformities over time. It is thus crucial to monitor fluoride intake during infancy.Infants and babies stay on a liquid diet of their mother’s milk, water, and other liquids. However, breastfeeding is encouraged over drinking water and baby formula, as the mother’s milk is fluoride free.If breastfeeding is not possible, ready to eat baby formula is recommended over powdered and liquid formula, due to its low fluoride concentration. One can also consider natural homemade remedies for the same.Vitamin D and sun exposure are alternatives to fluoride intake in infants and babies.Children should be encouraged to spit out the toothpaste after brushing their teeth.Fluoride is a powerful mineral needed to maintain oral health. Dental consultation is the key to monitor fluoride intake and reap its benefits. Professional consultation and guidance on this topic will help you in making a pre-emptive strike at tooth decay. Strengthen your teeth with fluoride so that you can cater to all your sweet tooth pangs without dampening your smile!Visiting your family dentist in Mumbai or somewhere near you is the first step towards maintaining oral hygiene. What your dentist will also guide you on are the minerals your body needs, and the ones you should avoid. Regarding one mineral in particular, fluoride, we have already covered the various benefits and sources of fluoride. Today, we will be covering the health risks of fluoride and the precautions one should take.Health Risks of FluorideToo much of anything can be harmful to the body. While fluoride is extremely efficient in fighting tooth decay, over consumption of fluoride is known to have adverse effects on the body.Exposure to fluoride during pregnancy can result in premature birth of the child. High levels of fluoride increases the risk of anaemia in pregnant women.Early exposure to fluoride results in lower IQ and hyperactivity during childhood.Over ingestion of fluoride during developmental stages of a child results in discolouration and brown spots on the surface of teeth, known as dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is associated with skeletal and endocrine problems.Exposure to high levels of fluoride causes vision impairment and bone deformities.Precautions to Avoid Adverse Effects of FluorideIt is important to monitor fluoride intake right from the grass root level. Preventive care needs to be taken right from pregnancy and breastfeeding, up to infancy and throughout childhood.Pregnant women must avoid all forms of fluoride intake in the form of fluoridated water, tablets, supplements etc. They should consume filtered drinking water. Infants can excrete only 15% of the ingested fluoride. The excess fluoride accumulates in the body and can lead to bone deformities over time. It is thus crucial to monitor fluoride intake during infancy.Infants and babies stay on a liquid diet of their mother’s milk, water, and other liquids. However, breastfeeding is encouraged over drinking water and baby formula, as the mother’s milk is fluoride free.If breastfeeding is not possible, ready to eat baby formula is recommended over powdered and liquid formula, due to its low fluoride concentration. One can also consider natural homemade remedies for the same.Vitamin D and sun exposure are alternatives to fluoride intake in infants and babies.Children should be encouraged to spit out the toothpaste after brushing their teeth.Fluoride is a powerful mineral needed to maintain oral health. Dental consultation is the key to monitor fluoride intake and reap its benefits. Professional consultation and guidance on this topic will help you in making a pre-emptive strike at tooth decay. Strengthen your teeth with fluoride so that you can cater to all your sweet tooth pangs without dampening your smile!

Tips To Prevent Cavities In Children

Dr. Sourabh Sunil Shah, Dentist
Parents play important role in preventing cavities in children by observing healthy dietary habits as well as maintaining proper oral hygiene for their children.In addition to this home care, the pediatric dentist can perform certain procedures in the dental clinic that are further very effective in prevention of cavities. These are:1. Fluoride application2. Pit & fissure sealant1.Fluoride Application#How does it prevent cavities?Fluoride is absorbed on the tooth surface and makes the tooth enamel stronger and more resistant to decay.#How is it done?The procedure of fluoride application is very simple. Fluoride is available in a paste form (called as the “fluoride varnish”).Step 1: The dentist makes tooth surfaces dry with cotton and air flow.Step 2: Fluoride paste is applied to all the teeth with a small brush.Application of fluoride paste to all teeth is a job of 5 – 10 minutes.The dual protection of FluorideFluoride application treatment should be repeated every 6 months. It provides a long term benefit as the paste contains high concentration of fluoride. This is in addition to the protection provided through daily use of fluoridated toothpaste which contains low concentration of fluoride.2.Pit & Fissure Sealant#How does it prevent cavities?In many children, the chewing surfaces of the newly erupted milk teeth as well as permanent teeth are quite rough or irregular. These irregularities are called as "grooves", “pits” and “fissures”.The pits and fissures tend to entrap food particles and bacteria which are difficult to clean even with the finest toothbrush bristles.The action of entrapped bacteria on food particles in these pits and fissures can thus start the decay which can progress to a large cavity.As the name suggests, the pit & fissure sealant is a paste-like material that seals these irregularities to make the chewing surfaces of molars smooth, thus preventing the food entrapment and hence the cavity formation.#How is it done? Pit & fissure sealant application is also a very simple procedure. The material used is a paste that hardens once placed as sealant.Step 1: The tooth surface is cleaned and dried with cotton and air flow.Step 2: Sealant paste is filled in pits and fissures. This procedure takes 10-15 minutes for each tooth.The dual protection of Pit & Fissure SealantThe sealant material not only blocks the pits and fissures to make the rough tooth surface smooth, but it also contains fluoride that gives added protection against cavity formation.

To Mouthwash or Not to Mouthwash?

Dr. Shruti Shanbhag, Dentist
We routinely have patients to come to us and say, “I don’t brush at night.. but I always use mouthwash!” or “I use mouthwash daily, I still have terrible breath!.” As a dentist, I cannot emphasize this enough to my patients-MOUTHWASH IS NOT A SUBSTITUE TO BRUSHING!Brands that manufacture mouthwashes claim they have a wide range of advantages from minty fresh breath to a variety of health benefits.But are the claims true? Is mouthwash really good for your mouth? Turns out, the answer is yes and no.4 Important Mouthwash ProsMouthwash may:Cut down on cavities. It is absolutely true that rinsing with a fluoride rinse can help reduce cavities. But there is definite a risk of too much fluoride (fluorosis), so only if you’re cavity prone, a fluoride mouth rinse is indicated.Fight gum disease. With periodontal disease (such as gingivitis), gums and tooth sockets can get inflamed or infected because of plaque from bacteria and food that lingers on teeth. An antibacterial mouthwash, like one with chlorhexidine, may help prevent periodontal disease.Soothe canker sores. “Mouthwash containing betadine can ease a canker sore by detoxing the area — reducing the amount of bacteria that can irritate the site. Although, in many cases, a simple warm saltwater rinse will do.Safeguard your pregnancy. Periodontal disease is actually a risk factor for giving birth to preterm, low-weight babies — the bacteria from a gum infection can get into a pregnant woman’s bloodstream and increase inflammatory markers, which in turn can stimulate contractions.The point I’m trying to make is that a mouthwash clearly offers certain benefits — but it’s important to know that not all mouth rinses are the same. Certain mouthwashes are definitely helpful to tackle a definite problem.3 Mouthwash Cons Mouthwash is by no means a cure-all. In fact, mouthwash gets bad marks because it:Irritates canker sores. If the alcohol content of your mouth rinse is too high, it may actually end up irritating the canker sore more than helping it.Masks/ worsens bad breath. Mouthwash can lead to fresher breath, but it may be short-lived. If a patient has poor oral hygiene and doesn’t brush effectively, there is no amount of mouthwash that can mask the effects of poor health. Just using mouthwash would be equivalent to not bathing and using cologne to mask the smell.Also, certain alcohol based mouth rinses dry out the mouth after the initial bout of freshness, and this actually worsens bad breath!Has been linked to oral cancer. The debate over whether alcohol-containing mouthwashes are linked to oral cancer continues — it’s an issue that has been discussed since the 1970's with no definitive answers.Bottom LineIf you have a dental issue, the right mouthwash can definitely be beneficial to you, But remember, it should always be used in conjunction with good hygiene habits.

7 Mistakes Parents Make With Their Kid's Teeth

Dr. Kumar Raja, Dentist
You know regular brushing, a healthy diet and dental visits are some of the best ways to prevent cavities, yet experts say many parents are falling short when it comes to oral hygiene.In fact, 42 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth. And 21 percent of children ages 6 to 11 have had them in their permanent teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here, find out the biggest mistakes Pedodontist say parents are making and learn what you can do to keep your children’s teeth healthy throughout their lifetime.1. Letting kids brush alone. Since most children don’t have the motor skills to brush effectively until they’re 8 years old, parents need to supervise brushing and check to make sure every surface of each tooth is clean.“It’s not that they don’t want to do a good job, they’re just not physically capable yet,” 2. Putting baby to bed with a bottleIt’s the easiest way to cause tooth decay, yet parents are still doing it, experts say. In fact, according to a survey by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 85 percent of parents said it wasn’t a good idea to put their babies to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, yet 20 percent did it anyway.Whether it’s a bottle at bedtime or a sippy cup all day long, the habit keeps the sugar and bacteria levels in the mouth elevated all the time. If your baby wakes up at night for a bottle or to nurse, wipe out her mouth with gauze or a soft cloth or brush if she has teeth.“If you start early on it becomes part of the normal routine,” 3. Making the first dentist appointment too late. Expert say it’s common to see children 2 or 3 years-old who need to go under general anesthesia to treat cavities and infections. One of the explanations for this is that parents aren’t bringing their babies to the dentist early enough.The first trip should either be when the first tooth erupts or by your baby’s first birthday. Dental visits every six months from the get-go will also help your child feel comfortable—and even excited—to go every time.4. Offering “healthy” foods like bananas, raisins, and whole-grain crackers seem like healthy fare but foods that are sticky and have concentrated sugars like these will sit in the grooves of the teeth and create cavities. Instead of nixing them entirely, eat them with meals— when there’s more saliva5. Thinking cavities are no big dealYou might think treating a cavity is an easy fix, but cavities can affect your child through out his lifetime. For starters, healthy baby teeth are necessary to maintain space for adult teeth. They help guide the jaw so it can grow.Plus, if a cavity becomes infected, it can affect the development of the adult teeth and if there’s an abscess, the child will likely need sedation to treat it. Cavities at an early age, especially if they’re not treated, can also lead to problems with speech articulation, poor sleep, and even low self-esteem and school performance.  6. Not using fluoride. Last year, the American Dental Association revised its recommendations and now suggests children age 2 and under use fluoride toothpaste, too. Although fluoride is controversial, experts agree that the research is clear: it’s one of the best ways to prevent cavities.The appropriate dose, however, is key. For children 3 years old and younger, use the equivalent of a grain of rice, and for children 3 to 6 years old, a pea-sized amount is enough. Nevertheless, if you’re concerned about your child’s exposure to fluoride in the water and toothpaste, talk to your dentist.7. Loading up on sports drinksA common cause of tooth decay in older kids is sipping on sports drinks and soda at lunch, at games and at home. By bathing their teeth in acid all day, there’s no opportunity for the PH to re-balance. If you can’t persuade your child to completely nix it from his diet, encourage him to limit the amount, then drink it and be done with it.

3 Simple Ways to Protect Your Children From Tooth Decay

Dr. Vanathi K, Dentist
3 Simple ways to protect your children from tooth decay:Proper oral hygienePit and Fissure sealantsFluoridation1. PROPER ORAL HYGIENE:To help your children protect their teeth and gums teach them to follow these simple steps:Brush twice a day with a pea-size dab of fluoride toothpaste and  soft bristled tooth brush.Eat a well balanced diet with less of sugar content and more of vitamins and minerals.Avoid frequent snacking between meals.Flossing can be done for your children from 5 years of age.It removes the food particles between the teeth.Regular dental visit 6 months once.2. PIT AND FISSURE SEALANTS:Dental sealants are a type of special plastic coating that acts as a barrier protecting cavity prone areas.They are applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth to cover deep pits and grooves.Sealing a tooth is PAINLESS,FAST AND EASY procedure.Sealants are added protection against tooth decay.3. FLUORIDATION:Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources.Fluoride is effective in preventing and reversing early signs of dental caries.Acid is formed when bacteria in plaque breakdown sugar and carbohydrates from diet. Repeated acid attack breakdown the tooth and causes cavities.Fluoride acts to repair and remineralize areas in which acid attack already begun and makes the teeth resistant to decay.Topical fluorides are professionally applied by dentist are more concentrated and available in the form of gel,foam and rinse.These topical fluorides  acts effectively on the teeth and prevents them from decay.These are few simple steps which ensures cavity free teeth for your kids.

Laser in Dentistry

Dr. Rajat Sachdeva, Dentist
Laser treatment is becoming widely recognised and can be applied to prevent caries from developing and to reduce the progression of caries. The mechanism of laser should be understood before a dentist could apply in his daily practice.The Enamel surface of tooth is made of crystals called ‘Hydroxyapetite’ and it is permeable in nature therefore, allowing diffusion of ions. During laser treatment, moderate heat(CO2 laser produces temp > 1000 degree celcius) is produced which changes the composition of Enamel from ‘hydroxyapetite’ to ‘carbonated apetite’ in which there is loss of water in the crystals, as a result the pores of Enamel shrink down to form ‘Microspace system’. The Microspace system provides a means for trapping Calcium, phosphate and fluoride ions which release during demineralization and acts as site for re-precipitation. The trapped minerals phases inside the Enamel and impedes lesion formation and progression causing enhanced resistance against demineralization. As the microspaces are smaller in size, it decreases the permeability of the Enamel thereby reducing the diffusion of ions in and out thereby reducing the demineralization process. Thus a seal is achieved and so is resistance to caries.The Dentin also gets acid resistance as there is increased mineral content due to burning of organic matter from tissue so there is increased Calcium and Phosphate found in recrystallized Dentin.LASERS IN ENDODONTICSEndodontic procedure carried out by conventional methods may not be successful in spite of utmost care. Despite the mechanical removal, irrigation and disinfection of canals, the bacteria can still persist which cannot be reached by conventional techniques. As the technology has advanced, now lasers are used in endodontic procedures to improve the prognosis of the treatment of tooth. Laser light penetrates upto >1000 micrometre into the dentin and provides a distinct advantage since the bacteria can immigrate upto 1000 micrometre into tubules. When in contact with laser, cell membrane gets destroyed due to the impact of direct heat and this damage is enough to stop the growth of the bacteria depending on the wavelength and frequency of laser irradiation used by the dentist. It is a very effective tool for disinfecting the root canal after mechanical root canal treatment as it has sufficient penetration depth.It is effective in curved canals also and the energy is transported by thin flexible fibres which have diameter of only 200 micrometer. Laser eradicates the microbial flora of root canal and also has same effect on surrounding dentin without affecting the surrounding tissue and has good disinfection mechanism without causing pain and improving the prognosis of the endodontic treatment.LASERS IN ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERYLasers have played an integral part in the evolution of practice of oral and maxillo-facial surgery as the procedures can be executed efficiently with less complication. There are many advantages such as :-Maintenance of sterile condition.Precise and accurateDecreased post-operative swellingImproved tissue scarring and healingMore accessibleLess instruments neededLess painLess cost, staff and timeLaser in Implant (Peri-implantitis)Laser makes it possible to remove diseased tissue around a dental implant without causing any significant harm to the healthy tissue. It is gentle, reducing inflammation and discomfort while encouraging new bone growth to reinforce and save your implant. Cosmetic facial Laser surgeryLaser is used to treat facial lesions and skin wrinkles by removing the surface layer of skin allowing the underlying skin to re-epithilialize in a uniform manner. E.g. tissue tags, epidermal nevi, lentigines, superficial pigmentation, skin wrinkles, scar revision, melisma etc.‘Laser’ in routine dentistryPericoronitisFrenectomy and AnkyloglossiaLaser assisted Biopsy