MARQUETTE — One program from the county health department aims to help keep your pearly–whites, well, pearly–white. The Fluoride Rinse Program will return to schools in our area.

According to U.P. Wide Smiles Program Coordinator, Rebecca Maino, fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter and the thirteenth most common mineral in the Earth’s crust. Some families have low levels of fluoride in their tap water, which is safe and healthy to digest and will help fight tooth decay. However some families in the U.P. do not have access to fluoridated water, which is why the Marquette County Health Department will continue to offer the Fluoride Rinse Program this school year across the U.P.

Up Wide Smiles Program Coordinator, Rebecca Maino says, “The school fluoride mouth rinse program isn’t ingested, where drinking water is, so you’re getting the benefit of a topical fluoride, and then if they are drinking the water fluoride, it’s a systemic one, too. The systemic fluoride helps to make the teeth stronger that are forming under the gums.”

To keep your mouth and your teeth healthy, you should be visiting your dentist for a cleaning at least twice a year, or once every six months. One of those appointments usually has a fluoride cleaning where they put foam in the tray and stick it in your mouth. This fluoride rinse is the same idea, just less messy and more portable for the school programs. Now even though this fluoride rinse helps, it doesn’t replace brushing your teeth and flossing – so remember to keep up those good habits at home.

Brushing, flossing and rinsing all fight a bacteria called streptococcus mutans – a major villain in the fight against cavities.

Dr. Jim Hayward, a dentist who work with the Marquette County Health Department, says, “It’s been identified as the primary source for dental decay, causing dental decay. The bacteria ingest the sugars and excretes as waste the acids that do the damage to the teeth.”

In addition to participating in the fluoride rinse, families can fight tooth decay at home with over–the–counter products like toothpaste and mouth rinses that contain fluoride. When school starts be sure to look out for your child’s consent forms for the Fluoride Rinse Program. Usually schools even welcome parent volunteers if you would like to participate with your child.

For more information about oral health click here.