Fluoride treatments may help fight cavities

November 1, 2013
Fluoride treatments may help fight cavities
People at high risk for dental decay might be helped by topical gels or varnishes, ADA panel says.

(HealthDay)—Applying prescription-strength fluoride directly to the teeth can benefit patients at increased risk for cavities, a new expert panel concludes.

This can be applied by patients at home or by a dentist in the office, said the new evidence-based clinical recommendations from the American Dental Association.

"Topical fluoride therapy is the use of fluorides in tooth pastes, gels or varnishes that come in contact with the tooth surfaces in the mouth," explained one expert, Dr. Ronald Burakoff, chairman of the department of dental medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

"These therapies can either be professionally applied in higher concentrations or used at home in lower concentrations," said Burakoff, who was not on the ADA panel.

In its report, appearing in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, the panel said further research is needed, but topical fluoride might be helpful for people at increased risk of developing cavities.

According to Burakoff, those people may include from poorer families, special needs children or adults, children living in areas that don't have fluoridated water, people with a family history of dental decay, or children or adults who for whatever reason have not been able to access dental care.

The ADA panel said dentists should determine a patient's risk for developing cavities by conducting a tooth decay risk assessment. People deemed to be at high risk might then be helped by the following:

  • Professionally applied 2.26 percent fluoride varnish or a 1.23 percent fluoride gel every three to six months.
  • Home-use prescription-strength 0.5 percent fluoride gel or paste or 0.09 percent fluoride mouth rinse (for patients 6 years old or older).
  • A 2.26 percent professionally applied fluoride varnish every three to six months for children younger than 6 years of age.

In addition, the recommendations say that APF (acidulated phosphate fluoride) foam should not be used in children younger than 6 years old due to the potential for swallowing the foam. Meanwhile, the foam is also not recommended for children older than 6 years old and adults due to a lack of evidence for benefit.

Patients should not be worried about any side effects from fluoride treatments, Burakoff added. "Current scientific literature supports that when fluoride is used in the correct doses there are no adverse outcomes," he said.

Explore further: Tiny tots in the dentist's chair among changes in pediatric dentistry

More information: The Columbia University College of Dental Medicine has more about fluoride treatments and supplements.

Related Stories

Fluoride in drinking water cuts tooth decay in adults

March 5, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—An international study conducted by researchers at the University of Adelaide has resulted in the strongest evidence yet that fluoride in drinking water provides dental health benefits to adults.

Recommended for you

How to eliminate pain tied to tooth decay

November 17, 2015

Dual discoveries at USC propose a promising method to regrow nonliving hard tissue, lessening or even eliminating pain associated with tooth decay, which the National Institutes of Health calls the most prevalent chronic ...

Earliest evidence of dental cavity manipulation found

July 20, 2015

A large team of researchers with members from institutions in Italy, Germany and Australia has found what they claim is the earliest example of dental cavity manipulation. In their paper published in the journal Scientific ...

Researchers use light to coax stem cells to regrow teeth

May 28, 2014

A Harvard-led team is the first to demonstrate the ability to use low-power light to trigger stem cells inside the body to regenerate tissue, an advance they reported in Science Translational Medicine. The research, led by ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2013
Its dubious whether fluoride is beneficial. Considering that fluoride lowers IQ by up to 5%, is the cause of sore tendons and bad bones due to its ability to make skeletal bone rough, and damages teeth in patches by either making the patch excessively white or stained. Is also the main ingredient of Prozac.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.