Fluoride and Teeth

Recently the news have been flashing headlines about Fluoride levels in water.  Many of our patients have asked us the question of whether fluoride is beneficial when ingested. It's important to understand that ingested fluoride may help only developing teeth in children. For teeth that have erupted in the mouth, fluoride is only effective as a topical agent:  It takes a delivery medium such as tooth paste or gel to allow the fluoride to form a matrix with the calcium on the tooth enamel.  That matrix helps resist tooth decay.

Here is the article from the California Dental Association regarding the recent guidelines for optimal fluoride level in drinking water.


Floss or Waterpik ?

It is my opinion that nothing beats traditional brushing and flossing. Mechanical removal of plaque and food debris in the space between the root and the gum flap is key to controlling inflamation caused by bacteria in that space.  The Waterpik cannot project a strong enough jet to get into that space to clean it out.

By leaning the floss against the root of the teeth and rubbing that root with the floss we can remove plaque much more effectively in the gum pocket.


What does a cavity look like ?

When there is a cavity, the tooth structure becomes less dense. More Xrays can pass through, and the area appears dark on the image. On the tooth, a new cavity will have a chalky white appearance due to the decalcification of the tooth structure. As time goes by, the decay area picks up stain and the area can turn brown or even black. The tooth structure where the cavity exists becomes soft and feels like leather if we poke it with a sharp instrument.

Here are some images of a cavity on an Xray as well as on the same tooth in the mouth.






Alex Nguyen, DDS is a Saratoga Dentist who practices General Dentistry, Cosmetic, and Implant Dentistry.  For over 20 years the practice has been serving the residents of Santa Clara County and San Francisco Bay Area.