Flouride FAQ’s

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Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are answers to commonly asked questions about fluoride.

What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral found in soil, water (both fresh and salt) and various foods.

How does fluoride prevent tooth decay?
Fluoride has a positive effect on oral health by making teeth more resistant to decay. Fluoride can also prevent or even reverse tooth decay that has started.

Where do I get the fluoride that prevents tooth decay?
For many Canadians, fluoride is in public drinking water, which provides protection to the entire community. Fluoride toothpastes and rinses are available for purchase, and your dentist can provide professional fluoride products such as gels and varnish.

What is dental fluorosis?
Dental fluorosis is a change in the appearance of teeth. It is caused when higher than optimal amounts of fluoride are ingested in early childhood. In its mildest and most common form, it affects the look of the tooth with small white specks appearing on a child’s teeth.

Is dental fluorosis a concern in Canada?
The Canadian Health Measures Survey 2007-2009 found that dental fluorosis is not an issue of concern for the vast majority of children (84%). Some children (16%) have mild forms of fluorosis that often go unnoticed by both the children and their parents.

What is water fluoridation?
Water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the level of fluoride in a public drinking water supply to optimize the dental benefits of preventing tooth decay.

Why is fluoride added to the public drinking water if it is available in other ways?
Fluoride is added to public drinking water to protect all members of the community from tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is a safe and effective way of preventing tooth decay at a low cost.

Who watches the fluoride levels in the drinking water?
The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water makes recommendations about the optimal level of fluoride in public drinking water to prevent tooth decay. The recommended level takes into account that Canadians receive fluoride from other sources such as food and beverages.

What does an “optimal” level of water fluoridation mean?
An optimal level of water fluoridation is achieved by adjusting the level of fluoride in the water to achieve the right balance between the benefit of preventing tooth decay and the risk of developing dental fluorosis.

 Are there any health risks associated with water fluoridation?
With the exception of dental fluorosis, scientific studies have not found any credible link between water fluoridation and adverse health effects.

Should I be using fluoridated toothpaste with my child?
For children from birth to 3 years of age, the use of fluoridated toothpaste is determined by the level of risk of tooth decay. Parents should consult a health professional to determine whether their child up to 3 years of age is at risk of developing tooth decay. If such a risk exists, the child’s teeth should be brushed by an adult using a minimal amount (a portion the size of a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste. Use of fluoridated toothpaste in a small amount has been determined to achieve a balance between the benefits of fluoride and the risk of developing fluorosis. If the child is not considered to be at risk, the teeth should be brushed by an adult using a toothbrush moistened only with water.

For children from 3 to 6 years of age, only a small amount (a portion the size of a green pea) of fluoridated toothpaste should be used. Children in this age group should be assisted by an adult in brushing their teeth.

Why do young children need to be assisted or supervised with tooth brushing?
Young children tend to swallow toothpaste when they are brushing, which may increase their exposure to fluoride and contribute to dental fluorosis. For this reason, children need to be assisted or supervised with tooth brushing. An adult needs to ensure that an appropriate amount of toothpaste is used, that the child spits out the toothpaste rather than swallows it, and that the teeth are cleaned effectively.

How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride protection?
Your dentist is able to assess your child’s risk of developing tooth decay and advise you of an appropriate level of fluoride protection.

(Source: Canadian Dental Association)

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Dental Anxiety

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Going to the dentist can cause anxiety, and that’s a normal reaction. It’s estimated that between 15 and 40 percent of people are affected by dental anxiety.

If not addressed, dental anxiety can lead to unnecessary oral health problems as a result of avoidance behavior, which can ultimately lead to more time spent in the dental chair to receive more extensive and potentially costly treatment.

Why do people experience dental related anxiety?

There are many causes of dental anxiety:
• The fear of pain
• Feeling as if you are not in control or are helpless
• Feeling embarrassed about the condition of your teeth
• Recalling your own past experiences or the experiences of your family and friends
• The fear of needles, drills and gagging
• Anticipating costly and/or extensive treatment

What can I do to alleviate dental anxiety?

• Talk with your dentist. He or she can help dispel any negative or frightening perceptions you may have. Having an understanding of your dental health and the dental services or treatment that you and your dentist have discussed and decided upon will help to relieve dental anxiety. Ask questions, and request informational materials.
• Avoid caffeine and sugar before a dental appointment; they may make you anxious.
• Schedule dental appointments early in the day, before you have the chance to become stressed or rushed.
• Focus on relaxing. Breathe regularly and slowly during the procedure. When you are nervous you tend to hold
your breath, which decreases oxygen levels and further increases feelings of panic.
• Use hand signals to inform the dentist when you are uncomfortable.

What if my self-relaxation attempts don’t work?

Before your appointment, you can ask your dentist about sedation. There are different types of sedation methods. The most common are inhaled (breathing in a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen) and oral (taking a medication by mouth). Another type is intravenous (IV) sedation. Sedation will make you feel more relaxed and even sleepy. It is safe when administered by a trained dentist, but it’s important that you talk with your dentist about any potential risks and questions that you have.
Regular six-month preventive checkups help detect oral health problems early and acquaint you with the dental office and procedures you may feel anxious about. Remember: When it comes to dental anxiety, knowledge is the greatest defense.

If you have any questions please call the office at 905-668-6301 to speak to Dr. Appleton or Dr. Bana.

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