-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Applying
prescription-strength fluoride directly to the teeth can benefit
patients at increased risk for cavities, a new expert panel
This fluoride can be applied by patients at home or by a dentist
in the office, said the new evidence-based clinical recommendations
from the American Dental Association.
"Topical fluoride therapy is the use of fluorides in tooth pastes, gels or varnishes that come in contact with the tooth surfaces in the mouth," explained one expert, Dr. Ronald Burakoff, chairman of the department of dental medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
"These therapies can either be professionally applied in higher concentrations or used at home in lower concentrations," said Burakoff, who was not on the ADA panel.
In its report, appearing in the November issue of the
Journal of the American Dental Association, the panel said
further research is needed, but topical fluoride might be helpful
for people at increased risk of developing cavities.
According to Burakoff, those people may include children from
poorer families, special needs children or adults, children living
in areas that don't have fluoridated water, people with a family
history of dental decay, or children or adults who for whatever
reason have not been able to access dental care.
The ADA panel said dentists should determine a patient's risk
for developing cavities by conducting a tooth decay risk
assessment. People deemed to be at high risk might then be helped
by the following:
In addition, the recommendations say that APF (acidulated
phosphate fluoride) foam should not be used in children younger
than 6 years old due to the potential for swallowing the foam.
Meanwhile, the foam is also not recommended for children older than
6 years old and adults due to a lack of evidence for benefit.
Patients should not be worried about any side effects from
fluoride treatments, Burakoff added. "Current scientific literature
supports that when fluoride is used in the correct doses there are
no adverse outcomes," he said.
The Columbia University College of Dental Medicine has more
fluoride treatments and supplements.
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