1 What is APF Gel?

Brand: APF Gel, Aquafresh, CaviRinse, Control Rx, Denta 5000 Plus, Dentagel, Dentall 1100 Plus, EtheDent, Fluorabon, Fluor-A-Day, Fluoridex Daily Defense, Fluoridex Daily Defense Enhanced Whitening

Generic: Sodium Fluoride

APF Gel is usually indicated in children to prevent dental caries in those areas where the level of naturally occurring fluoride in the drinking water is inadequate. It makes teeth stronger and more resistant to decay caused by acid and bacteria.

Sodium fluoride supplementation may also be indicated in those situations where home water filtration systems remove fluoride. This usually occurs with reverse osmosis or distillation units, but not with carbon charcoal filters.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Cream
  • Gel/Jelly
  • Liquid
  • Lozenge/Troche
  • Paste
  • Solution
  • Tablet
  • Tablet, Chewable
  • Tablet, Enteric Coated

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using APF Gel, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. The suitable drug therapy is usually chosen by a doctor with the active participation of the patient.

There are some important factors such as drug interactions, the presence of any metabolic impairment, history of hypersensitivity reaction, pregnancy, lactation etc. that may alter the desired therapeutic effects of a medicine.

Sometimes the presence of other health disorders affects the beneficial effects of this medicine and even may cause serious toxic effects. If you have had any allergic reactions to any medicine then you must tell your doctor about that.

This medication is not recommended for use in areas where the fluoride content in the water supply is greater than 0.6 parts per million and in infants of less than 6 months of age.

Make sure you inform your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Brown, white, or black discoloration of teeth
  • Joint pain
  • Severe kidney problems
  • Stomach ulcer—this medicine may make these conditions worse.

Because of drug-drug interactions, certain medicines should not be used along with another medicine. It is always recommended to consult with your doctor if you are in need of some other medications or even any over-the-counter medicine for another health problem in order to avoid unwanted toxic effects.

3 Proper Usage

To use APF Gel properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. The dosage schedule and the duration of drug therapy generally depend on upon the particular medical problem for which you are going to use this medicine. The therapeutic dose may also vary with the patient’s condition or requirement and the strength of the medicine as well. 

To prevent cavities in the teeth (not enough fluoride in the water):

  • Children—dose must be determined by your health care professional usually based on the amount of fluoride in drinking water in your area and also based on the child's age.

This medicine comes with patient information. You should read and follow the instructions carefully. To use different dosage forms, you may follow these guidelines:

  • If you are using the liquid dosage form, the dose should be measured carefully using the specially marked dropper that is provided with the medicine. Drops may be swallowed directly or mixed with a small amount of juice. But you should not mix with food containing milk or other dairy products.
  • If you are using the chewable dosage form, tablets should be chewed or crushed before they are swallowed.
  • If you are using the lozenge, place the lozenge in your mouth and allow it to dissolve.
  • This medicine works best if it is taken at bedtime after the teeth have been thoroughly brushed. For best results, do not rinse your mouth, eat, or drink for at least 15 minutes after taking these forms of the medication.

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. But, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.

Further, it is advised to store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature away from heat, moisture, and direct light. All kinds of medicines should be kept out of the reach of children. However, outdated medicines should be disposed of by an appropriate way.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using APF Gel, there are some precautions you must take. Firstly, regular visits to your doctor are recommended to check that this medicine is working properly or not.

Additionally, the following guidelines should be followed to prevent unwanted complications as well as for the better prognosis of the patients:

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor/dentist or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems.

The level of fluoride present in the water varies with sources and regions. If you move to another area, check with a health care professional in the new area as soon as possible to see if this medicine is still needed or if the dose needs to be changed.

Also, check with your health care professional if you change infant feeding habits (e.g. breast-feeding to infant formula) and/or drinking water (e.g. tap water to filtered tap water).

You should not take calcium supplements or aluminum hydroxide containing products and sodium fluoride at the same time. It is best to space doses of these two products 2 hours apart, to get the full benefit from each medicine.

If you notice white, brown, or black spots on the teeth, check with your health care professional as soon as possible. These are signs of fluoride toxicity that occur only during periods of tooth development in children.

This medication should be used regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.

Too much fluoride can cause white patches or yellow or brown spots on the teeth. If this happens, stop using the medicine and check with your doctor.

You should not use this medicine more often or in larger amounts than your doctor ordered. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, make sure you tell your doctor before taking this medicine.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with APF Gel. However, taking an overdose of fluoride may cause serious problems.

Sometimes you may need to consult with the doctor immediately if you notice any of the following toxic effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Black, tarry stool
  • Increased saliva
  • Drowsiness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Tremors
  • Unusual excitement
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures
  • Bone pain
  • Stiffness
  • White, brown, or black discoloration of the teeth

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.