A few dentists began using fluoride solutions as a preventive measure against dental decay over thirty years ago. This was by direct application, i.e.
the regular painting of fluoride on the teeth of children from the age of two years. Since then the amount of the decay in such treated children has been negligible compared with other. But it can be a time-consuming procedure although inexpensive compared with the cost and discomfort of dental decay. The addition of minute quantities of fluoride to the water supply, to bring the concentration up to the level found naturally in some waters, has been shown to confer resistance to dental decay.
Studies of the action of drinking water containing one part of fluoride in a million parts of water have been carried out in many countries in the world. The conclusion was that fluoride at a level of 1 mg per litre has been drunk for generations by millions of people throughout their lives. Since fluoridation was introduced, millions more have been drinking water with fluoride at this level. Fluoride in water, added or naturally present, at a level of approximately 1 mg/litre over the years of tooth formation substantially reduces dental caries throughout life.
In the absence of water fluoridation your dentist or hygienist can put fluoride directly on your child’s teeth. This takes a few minutes and a strong recommendation is that it be applied at four-monthly intervals, i.e. three times a year.
Fluoride tablets and solutions can be obtained from your local chemist (see your dentist about prescribing the correct dosage) and these involve remembering to administer the correct amount daily, which may be a chore for some. But it is important to discuss all this with your dentist first. Some few complaints have been made about ‘allergic reaction’ to the fluoride tablet-administration. Investigations have rarely shown any true allergic response and any temporary upset has usually been due to other causes.