Dental Assistant

4 Facts About Fluoride for Anyone Who Wants to Become an Intra-Oral Dental Assistant

February 02, 2018

person holding a fluoride sign

Fluoride is a key contributor to combating tooth decay. Since its beneficial effects were first discovered in the 20th century, it has been enthusiastically embraced by the dental community. Due to its effectiveness in preventing the formation of cavities, fluoride has become an important ingredient in a wide variety of treatments and is often even included in public drinking water.

But what is fluoride, and how exactly is it used to help strengthen tooth enamel? Here’s a closer look at several important facts about fluoride for aspiring intra-oral dental assistants.

1. Fluoride Is a Naturally Occurring Mineral Found in the Environment

To the untrained client, fluoride might sound like a scary substance. However, fluoride is in fact a naturally occurring mineral that is present in environments worldwide. The vast majority of freshwater and saltwater all over the planet contains some dissolved fluoride, with local amounts varying depending on the region. Fluoride is so ubiquitous that it is present in almost all kinds of vegetation, and is also often found in rainwater.

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As a commonly occurring mineral, fluoride is found throughout natural environments

2. Once You Become an Intra Oral Dental Assistant, You’ll See Less Cavities Due to Fluoridated Tap Water

The presence of sufficient levels of fluoride in drinking water (approximately 0.5 parts per million) has been proven to be beneficial to teeth, both reducing the demineralization of tooth enamel, and increasing remineralisation rates.

Fluoride’s role in dental health increased substantially over the early 20th century. Given its broad availability, low cost, and outstanding benefits, the decision to add a small amount of fluoride to drinking water for the first time in the US was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1945. Five years later, tooth cavities among children were down by a stunning 60 per cent. As a result, the application of fluoride to drinking water in Canada took off in the following years. Today, approximately 45 per cent of all Canadians have access to fluoridated drinking water.

3. No Scientific Evidence Links Fluoride to Serious Diseases or Disorders

In recent years, the use of fluoride and its inclusion in public drinking water has become a controversial and much-debated topic. In fact, you may have encountered claims that fluoride causes a host of maladies including cancer, Down syndrome, osteoporosis, and renal disease. Fortunately, none of these claims have been scientifically proven, and Health Canada has continually asserted that community water fluoridation is a safe and effective way to combat tooth decay. While very high levels of naturally occurring fluoride in water have been shown to cause dental fluorosis—the formation of white or brown spots on teeth—this is a largely cosmetic condition with no link to more serious health problems. If, after your dental assistant training, you encounter a client who feels nervous about fluoride, you can help assure them that it is very safe.

4. You May Help to Apply Fluoride Once You Have Completed Dental Assistant Training

Should an individual live in an area without fluoridated tap water, cavity-preventing fluoride can still be attained in a variety of ways. Most toothpastes and mouth washes include fluoride as a standard component. In addition, fluoride treatments are also offered at dentist offices.

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Fluoride can be delivered via toothpaste, mouth wash, lozenges, and dental treatment

One of the most effective ways to apply fluoride to teeth is through a fluoride treatment, which you may encounter after you become an intra-oral dental assistant. This often takes the form of a fluoride varnishing, in which a small brush is used to administer a clear, fluoride-enriched varnish to the teeth in a painless, quick process. This varnish will wash off naturally several hours later, but will result in enamel benefits for months afterwards. Other methods of application exist, which can include foams, gels, and other solutions. Throughout your career, you may even get to see the benefits of these treatments firsthand as you provide chair support to dentists.

Do you want to build a career while working to improve public health?

Contact Medix College today to learn more about dental assistant college in Ontario.

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