It is a naturally occurring substance that is sometimes added to the municipal water source (based on region) to prevent cavities. Fluoride is also found in toothpaste & mouthwash, in addition to being administered in dental offices preventatively. Fluoride has been proven to halt existing cavities from growing larger and prevent further cavities. Fluoride works by strengthening tooth enamel, which is the outer structure of the teeth, to prevent the penetration of acids and bacteria.
It is recommended to use a fluoride-containing toothpaste at least twice a day and potentially a mouthwash containing fluoride once a day if you are particularly cavity prone. Fluoride is also administered in dental offices using a topical gel, foam or rinse. Avoid drinking, eating, or rinsing your mouth for a minimum of 30 minutes after the use of fluoride to give it time to work.
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener found in most plants and many fruits and vegetables and used as an alternative to sugar. Xylitol is typically extracted from birch wood to be used in gum, mints, candies and diabetic sweets. Xylitol works by reducing the amount of cavity-causing oral bacteria, called streptococcus mutans, and reducing the pH of the saliva to create a less acidic environment.
Xylitol is added to some gum, mints, candies, mouthwash, dental floss and even some sweets. It is essential to look at the ingredient list to make sure the product you are purchasing contains xylitol. Try to use a xylitol-containing product after every meal and before bed for the best results. Even using a xylitol-containing product once a day can help reduce the risk of cavities.
It is proven that both fluoride and xylitol help reduce the risk of cavities, but it is unclear if there is one that works better. The use of both fluoride and xylitol-containing products, as well as brushing and flossing, helps to reduce the risk of cavities. If you have any questions about fluoride or xylitol, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.