What is fluor?

Fluor (or fluoride, floride) is an element that is scientifically proven to prevent tooth decays. The toothpastes and mouthwashes on the market are important parts of daily mouth and tooth care practices because of their specific fluor content. In dental practices, on the other hand, products with fluor such as gel, foam and polish are applied directly on the teeth (locally or topically).

Why fluor is necessary for the teeth?

Fluor is important because it prevents the formation of tooth decays. Tooth decays start when the external layer of tooth called tooth enamel is dissolved by the acid produced by the tooth-decaying bacteria. Development of the tooth enamels of the newly growing teeth of the children requires time and therefore, young teeth are more prone to decaying during this period. Fluor helps enamel development by becoming a part of the tooth enamel, protects it from tooth-decaying bacteria and the damage caused by the acid produced by such bacteria. In addition, fluor also prevents the progress of new white stain decays.

How many fluor applications are there?

There are two types of fluor applications: systemic and local (topical). The studies conducted in the past years report that fluoride systematically taken into body through drinking water, table salt and milk has a protective effect on the teeth.

However, it is reported recently that application of fluoride directly onto the teeth without swallowing and locally through agents such as tooth paste, gel, polish and foam is much more effective.

Are fluor applications safe?

"Fluor Status Report" issued by Turkish Pedodontics Association (TPD) and Turkish Dentists Associations (TDB) Education Committee in 2016 stated that fluor sources used to prevent decays do not contain toxic doses of fluor and thus are safe to use.

Fluor used in the doses recommended by the dentists has no adverse effect on human health.

How to use fluor for oral and dental health of children?

Due to the risk of unintentional swallowing, it is recommended for children between the ages of 0-3 to use tooth pastes that do not contain fluor on daily basis. However, as the age of 3 when all milk teeth are fully grown, tooth enamels of the children are improved and decays are prevented by the local fluor applications to be made during the dental examinations.

Using the proper toothpaste according to the age of children.

  • Between the ages of 4-7, it is recommended to use 500 ppm fluor containing toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice twice a day,
  • Between the ages of 8-12, use 900 ppm fluor containing toothpaste about the size of a pea twice a day,
  • After the age of 12, apply 1450 ppm fluor (adult dosage) containing toothpaste about the size of a pea twice a day.
  • Before brushing the teeth, the brush must be moistened with water and after brushing it must be spat before washing the mouth with water.

How to apply fluor locally on children's teeth?

Before applying the fluor, all surfaces of the teeth are cleaned through the procedure called polishing (with a special mechanic brush and paste) and the tooth plaque is removed. Then, a polish containing fluor is applied on teeth with the help of a brush. The patient must be urged not to eat or drink anything and not to wash his/her mouth at least for 30 minutes after the application.

How frequently is fluor application made for children?

In order for fluoride to be effective in decay protection, it must be applied daily in low doses and periodically in high doses. Tooth pastes contain low doses of flouride and they are effective if used on a daily basis.  On the other hand, the frequency and form of usage of the agents containing high doses of fluroide (gel, foam, polish etc.) may vary. During the dental examination, the decay risk group of the patient is determined, and local fluoride application frequency may vary according to the group as once in every 3, 4 or 6 months.

Should I let fluor application at school?

Like every treatment, fluor application is exclusive to the individual and when needed, it must be applied by the experts under the most suitable conditions. Although the local fluor application is quite simple and short, there must be special systems available such as salive absorber in the clinic to prevent extra fluoride from being swallowed. Therefore, it is best for children's health to receive local fluor treatments from a pediatric dentist (pedodontist) in a clinic.