Brushing and flossing your teeth daily can take you a long way in maintaining a healthy mouth and smile. Yet, you may find you need additional help at times and may benefit from undergoing fluoride treatments. While this type of treatment is often associated with children, it can be just as beneficial for adults today as well. Below we help you understand what these are, how they can help, and why they are important to your oral health.
What is a Fluoride Treatment?
Fluoride is a type of naturally occurring mineral often found in a variety of water sources and particular foods. It is also an essential component found in your teeth and helps to strengthen the tooth enamel and protect against decay and cavities.
While you can find fluoride listed as an ingredient in some dental care products, such as mouthwashes and toothpastes, there will only be a minuscule amount. This amount may benefit some patients, but those who are at higher risk for developing decay will need a special dentist-applied fluoride treatment.
This fluoride treatment is administered after a thorough dental cleaning and will involve applying a topical, professional-strength fluoride to your teeth in one of the following ways.
- Liquid fluoride application: For this application, your dentist will use a small brush to apply a clear liquid varnish to the teeth and also to any receding gums where roots are showing.
- Foam fluoride application: Your dentist will place the fluoride foam inside a tray that looks like a mouth guard. This tray will be fitted inside your mouth and left there for three to five minutes.
- Gel fluoride application: Application of gel fluoride may be with a small brush or by the use of mouth trays.
How Important are Fluoride Treatments?
Fluoride treatments are important for a number of reasons, including to strengthen teeth and protect against the development of new tooth decay. They can also slow or halt the progression of any existing tooth decay and help you avoid the need for new fillings and other restorative dental work.
During your everyday routine of eating and drinking, mineralization and demineralization occur. This means that minerals are added and also removed from tooth enamel every day. The removal (or demineralization) occurs due to the acids in the mouth which develop from plaque. These acids attach to tooth enamel and cause it to break down. With fluoride treatments, you begin to rebuild those weakened enamel surfaces with more intensive remineralization efforts.
Children, during the early years, will benefit from fluoride treatments as their new teeth begin to develop and grow. The treatments will provide protection while the child learns how to practice good dental hygiene.
As for adults, the weakening of teeth occurs as you age. Mouth bacteria levels increase and can become a problem, even if you do brush and floss daily. Fluoride treatments will be beneficial in helping you keep your teeth as strong as possible for as long as possible.
What are Some Other Risk Factors that Will Benefit from Fluoride Treatments?
If you experience any of the following conditions, you may also benefit from fluoride treatments.
- Dry Mouth: Saliva is a big help in the natural mineralization process. Without it, your teeth can lose their strength. With dry mouth, natural saliva levels decrease due to various factors, including allergies or sinus problems, diabetes and other health disorders, or the taking of certain medications.
- Receding Gums: With gum recession and exposure of the tooth root, you are at a high risk of tooth decay developing, which can weaken the tooth structure.
- Previous Dental Work: If you have a history of requiring dental work, such as frequent fillings or crowns, you may benefit from fluoride treatments. Decay can easily form under and around dental work and be difficult to reach with regular brushing and flossing.
- A Diet High in Acidic Foods or Beverages: For those who include high acidic food or beverages in their diet, it’s essential to note that those acids can wear away tooth enamel and eventually weaken the tooth’s structure, requiring a dental solution to correct.
Be sure to discuss these with your dentist to determine how you can benefit from fluoride treatments going forward.
Contact Linworth Family Dental Today to Find Out More About Fluoride Treatments
Fluoride may be naturally-occurring, but not everyone receives enough of it today to keep their teeth strong and more resistant to decay. Linworth Family Dental can help with this by providing fluoride treatments for patients on a regular basis. Contact our office today to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Understanding why fluoride treatments are important and in what ways they can benefit you and your smile may be the next best thing you do for your oral health.