This course introduces the dental professional to the important role of fluoride in the prevention and control of dental caries. Systemic and topical forms of fluoride delivery are discussed as options for the majority of patients, and professional forms of fluoride delivery are discussed as sometimes necessary measures for high-risk patients with severe caries.

Clinical Significance Snapshots

How can I find out if my patients are getting fluoridated water?

Contact the local water supplier or State Health Department. Almost 70% of the US population receives water in which the concentration of fluoride has been adjusted to optimal levels. This percentage cannot increase much more, as it is challenging to adjust the fluoride content of wells and other individual water sources. With the increased consumption of bottled water, not all people living in an area of water fluoridation may be receiving the optimal amount of fluoride.

Are all fluoride toothpastes the same?

Not necessarily. Every manufacturer uses its own proprietary formulations. Fluoride compounds are very reactive, and without good chemistry at the formulation stage, some or all of the fluoride can become bound to other ingredients in the paste and not be available for binding to the surfaces of teeth.

Commonly used fluoride sources include Stannous fluoride, Sodium fluoride, and Sodium monofluorophosphate. A toothpaste brand carrying the Seal of Acceptance of the American Dental Association will have demonstrated in various studies that the fluoride is both safe and effective.