Fluoride is an effective therapeutic and preventive agent for dental caries. The mineral alters the caries process by interfering with the dynamic of lesion development by enhancing remineralization, reducing demineralization, and inhibiting bacteria. While there are many forms of fluoride delivery, the incorporation of fluoride in a dentifrice has proven to be one of the most effective prevention and intervention strategies for dental caries. It should be noted that although fluoride therapy is important for caries control, it does not always stop caries development and progression. The tried-and-true public health recommendations of proper oral hygiene, such as brushing teeth at least twice a day, flossing to clean in between teeth, and cutting back on dietary sugar intake, continue to be very important in fighting caries.

Video 3. How do you determine which preventive agent to use?
I guess one of the things I feel very passionate about, is that we have wonderful management strategies and sometimes they’re underutilized. We have so many new things and exciting things and it’s sometimes very confusing for the practitioner to know what do you incorporate and when. I guess one of the messages I would like to come across is that sure, try, incorporate new things, but do not do it at the expense of things that we know work very well and we have long evidence to suggest that work very well. And two examples are fluorides and sealants. Every practitioner should be using fluorides and sealants, based on best available evidence and their patient’s risks, and desires, and needs to be able to manage the disease process. Everything else they want to try, it’s fine. There’s going to always be new products and strategies out there, with varying levels of evidence, depending on how new they are or old they are. But, let’s not substitute the things that we know work until we’re sure there is something that works as well as that.