Fluoride is a natural element in soil, food and water. Fluoride can be found in the drinking water, toothpaste, varnish and dental fillings.
Fluoride is use to protect the outside surface of the tooth against acid. The sugar we eat combined with the bacteria in our mouth form acid that cause tooth decay (cavities). Fluoride helps to block the acid production and fights against cavities by making the teeth stronger. Fluoride works best when it is applied on the outer surfaces on the teeth to help stop the acid from attacking the teeth.
Common Sources of Fluoride:
- Drinking Water
- Small amount of fluoride is added into the drinking water. Only two communities in Nunavut have fluoridated water: Iqaluit and Arviat.
- Brushing twice a day (morning and at night) with fluoridated toothpaste is the best way to fight against dental cavities for children and adult teeth.
- Fluoride Varnish
- See below
- Applied 2 or more times a year (every 6 months) is the the best way to fight against cavities for children and adult teeth.
- Silver Diamine Fluoride
- A colorless liquid with silver material to fight cavities and fluoride to make the teeth stronger is brushed on the teeth.
Is fluoride safe?
Yes! The use of fluoride for the prevention of dental caries is approved by over 90 national and international professional health organizations including:
- Health Canada
- Canadian Dental Association
- Canadian Dental Hygienists Association
- Canadian Public Health Association
- Canadian Medical Association
- World Health Organization
What is fluoride varnish?
Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that is painted on a child’s teeth to prevent cavities. It can also be painted on teeth that already have cavities. Fluoride can slow down or help stop cavities from getting bigger. This does not replace regular dental check-ups by your dental professional as your child may still need dental treatment.
The fluoride varnish will be painted on your child’s teeth one or two times each year.
How is fluoride varnish applied?
Trained providers are able to apply fluoride varnish using a small disposable brush and painting the varnish directly onto your child’s teeth.
After fluoride varnish is applied:
Your child’s teeth may look yellow or cloudy on the first day. This color will gradually go away. It is normal for the fluoride varnish to make the teeth feel sticky. This only lasts a short time.
To give the fluoride varnish maximum benefit, your child should:
- Eat only soft foods at the next meal.
- Not brush or clean teeth until the next morning, any residual fluoride varnish will be easily removed the next day.
- Drink water whenever they like.