Before you finish your appointment, your hygienist will probably offer you fluoride. Because Calgary’s tap water hasn’t been fluoridated for several years, it is extra important for you to brush your teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste and to get regular fluoride treatments at the dentist.
Very simply, fluoride is naturally-occurring mineral that you can find in many foods, and even water. Your teeth have a very high mineral content, and over the course of a day they gain and lose minerals. Acids and sugars cause your teeth to lose minerals; food and water with calcium, fluoride, and phosphate cause your teeth to gain minerals. The balance needs to be about equal for optimal tooth health: unfortunately, our teeth often lose slightly more minerals than they gain, making the enamel (surface) of your teeth weak and more susceptible to decay. Fluoride in water, toothpaste, and at dental treatments helps to speed the process of getting minerals back in your teeth, as well as reduce the production of acid in and around existing teeth.
While it’s true that a few activists have called for removing fluoride from water systems (something Calgary did several years ago) and express concern about its safety, the truth is that fluoride is extremely effective in preventing tooth decay and when used properly, is safe. In large concentrations, just like any substance, fluoride isn’t healthy to consume; that’s why you spit your toothpaste instead of swallowing. At your hygiene appointment, you’ll hold fluoride in your mouth against your teeth for one minute before spitting it out – this is safe because you are not swallowing it.
Fluoride is a topical treatment and comes in many flavours, such as mint, chocolate, strawberry, and cherry. Most typically, fluoride comes in a foam or gel put into flexible foam trays shaped like your teeth. This tray is then slid into your mouth and you bite down for 30-60 seconds before spitting out as much as possible into the saliva ejector. After your fluoride application, please don’t eat or drink anything, or rinse your mouth further, for half an hour! This helps the fluoride to work to its maximum effect.
Got questions about fluoride or dental hygiene appointments? Give our handy Forest Lawn office a call to chat, or book your next appointment!
Suite 600, 2710 17th Ave SE
Proudly serving Calgary and the nearby communities of Southview, Radisson, Forest Lawn, Dover, Erin Woods, Penbrook Meadows, Inglewood and more.
Monday 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Tuesday9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Thursday7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Friday8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Saturday*8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
* Twice Monthly
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