Frequently Asked Questions


Q How does fluoride work?
A When fluoride is used in small regulated amounts it helps prevent tooth decay. Fluoride acts to pre-harden the tooth enamel to better resist the effects of acids as well as encourages “remineralization,” a strengthening of weakened areas on the teeth. Fluoride can occur naturally in water and in many different foods as well as dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, gels, varnish, and supplements. Fluoride is most effective when combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.
Q Will my child need fluoride supplements?
A Children between the ages of six months and 16 years may need fluoride supplements. Dr. Cavano considers many different factors before recommending a fluoride supplement, including your child’s age, risk of developing dental decay, water source and dietary habits.
Q How safe is fluoride?
A Fluoride is documented to be safe and, if used correctly, highly effective. Only small amounts of fluoride are necessary for the maximum benefit. Young children, especially pre-school aged children should avoid swallowing fluoride containing toothpaste. Only a small pea sized amount on a brush is recommended. Adults should place the paste onto the brush and push the paste into the bristles. Parental monitoring and assisting of brushing ensures that over ingestion of toothpaste is avoided and that effective home-care results are achieved.
Q What is topical fluoride?
A Topical fluoride directly contacts teeth, and is available in different forms including toothpastes, mouth rinses, varnishes, foams and gels. Concentrated fluoride foam is applied professionally after your child’s teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, providing a cumulative benefit along with your toothpaste. Fluoride varnish is a new form of topical fluoride applied at our office.  It has been documented to be safe and especially effective in fighting dental decay. Varnish can be applied quickly, resulting in less potential fluoride ingestion, as well as possessing the ability to “soak” fluoride into the enamel for a prolonged period of time. Varnish is especially useful in young patients, high cavities-risk patients and individuals with special needs that may not tolerate fluoride trays comfortably.