Fluoride: For All Ages

Fluoride is a compound of the element fluorine, which is found throughout nature in water, soil, air and most foods. In dentistry, fluoride is used to reduce tooth decay, to re-mineralize weakened enamel and to reduce tooth sensitivity. Fluoride is useful in two forms; systemic and topical.

Systemic fluoride is ingested when added to public and private water supplies, soft drinks and teas, and is available in dietary supplement form. Once systemic fluoride is absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract, the blood distributes it throughout the entire body. Most fluoride that is not excreted is deposited in hard tissues, teeth and bones. The incorporation of fluoride within the developing tooth makes the enamel much more decay resistant. Water fluoridation is endorsed by nearly every major health and safety related organization. Fluoridation of community water supplies is, without question, the single most effective public health measure for the reduction of tooth decay and improved oral health.

Topical fluoride application is used after the teeth are developed and erupted, and aids in the fight against decay and to promote re-mineralization of weakened enamel. Topical fluoride is found in such products as toothpastes, mouth washes and rinses. Dentists recommend brushing the teeth with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice daily, and after every meal when possible, combined with a regime of daily flossing and regular dental examinations and cleanings. Professionally administered topical fluorides, in the form of gels or foam, are frequently applied at the end of a cleaning appointment for children through the mid-teens.

Fluoride is also very important for adults. As we age, gum recession is a common occurrence. The roots of teeth, which are not covered by the protective enamel found on the crown of the tooth, become exposed. These exposed roots are commonly more sensitive to thermal changes. Fluoride treatment can be used to decrease temperature sensitivity, and if a person has a higher rate of decay, fluoride can reduce the chance of new decay while further protecting the edges of existing dental work. Fluoride treatments can be performed in the office after a cleaning or Dr. Boyle may prescribe a special fluoride rinse for home use.

Current generations will keep their teeth for a life-time, whereas previous generations have lost their teeth much earlier in life. Fluoride is a major reason why teeth are healthier now than ever before. Continued use of fluoride throughout adulthood will enhance good dental health.

In general, the use of fluoride is safe, unless it is misused or over-concentrated. Ingesting excessive amounts of fluoride can cause a condition known as fluorosis. This is a condition where the teeth are very decay resistant but exhibit an overall dark brown/gray coloration or an uneven coloration marked by chalky white spots.

If you are concerned about the fluoride levels in your drinking water, consult with your family dentist or call the local public water department. If your water source is a private well, request a natural fluoride content analysis of a water sample by your local health department.

If you have any questions about fluoride, Dr. Mahlin will be happy to discuss them with you.


Read what people are saying about us.

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Everyone at the practice is super friendly, starting from the front desk to Dr. Mahlin. I normally get the first appointment in the morning and I have never had to wait. I have been going to them for probably 20 years and have never had an issue that isn't promptly resolved. Last time I had my crown done, Dr. Mahlin even gave me his mobile number in case of an issue. I'll definitely recommend them.

Sanjiv Bhatia

Dr. Mahlin and his staff are absolutely wonderful! His bedside manner is among the best, if not the best, when it comes to compassionate, patient-centered care. He even called me after I had a new crown placed just to see how I was doing. He's thoughtful, gentle (both as a person and as a dentist), and most importantly is excellent at dentistry! His staff couldn't be friendlier or more accomodating and I have never had a long wait in the waiting room. I would give him 10 stars if this rating scale allowed it!

Gregory Polites

Kim, my hygienist, is the best, she has a passion for insuring she does her best to ensure patient comfort and that I will leave with the cleanest teeth and gums as well as a plan for addressing potential issues! Dr. Mahlin is very professional in his final inspection and verification of any of Kim's findings while performing the cleaning. An added bonus that Dr. Mahlin provides is a follow up call in the evening to ensure that your experience that day for treatment has gone as expected and there aren't any abnormalities. Very Caring person!

John Helbing

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Scott Mahlin, DDS, FAGD, FICOI and Clarkson Dental Group, serving West St. Louis County area in Chesterfield, MO Disclaimer: This website is provided for information and education purposes only.  No doctor/patient relationship is established by your use of this website.  No dentistry diagnosis or treatment is being provided.  The information contained here should be used in consultation with a dentist of your choice.  No guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within the website.  This website is not intended to offer specific medical or dental advice to anyone.  Further, this web site and Dr. Scott Mahlin, DDS, FAGD, FICOI take no responsibility for web sites hyperlinked to this site and such hyperlinking does not imply any relationships or endorsements. Please contact us with any concerns.


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