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What is a Fluoride Treatment

What is a Fluoride Treatment?

A fluoride treatment is a dental procedure that involves the application of fluoride dental products directly to your teeth. These treatments work to strengthen tooth enamel and protect against tooth decay. The treatment is typically performed at a dentist’s office, although there are also over-the-counter fluoride products available for at-home use.

During a fluoride treatment, a concentrated fluoride gel, foam, or varnish will be applied to the teeth. The fluoride may be flavored to make it more appealing, especially for younger patients. The fluoride is usually left on the teeth for a few minutes to allow the teeth to absorb it. Afterward, the person may be instructed not to eat or drink for a certain period of time to maximize the fluoride’s effectiveness and protect your teeth.

Fluoride works by replenishing minerals in the tooth enamel that have been lost due to acid attacks from bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It can also inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth and reduce the amount of acid they produce. As a result, fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay and cavities, and it can even reverse early stages of decay.

Fluoride treatments are especially beneficial for children, as their developing teeth are more likely to experience decay. However, adults can also benefit from fluoride treatments, particularly if they are at a higher risk of tooth decay due to factors such as dry mouth, gum disease, or a history of cavities. Speak to your dentist about the benefits of fluoride supplements and protect your smile.

When Is Fluoride Intake Most Critical?

It is certainly important for infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years to be exposed to fluoride. This is the timeframe during which the primary and permanent teeth come in. However, adults benefit from fluoride, too. New research indicates that topical fluoride — from toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments — are as important in fighting tooth decay as in strengthening developing teeth.

In addition, people with certain conditions may be at increased risk of tooth decay and would therefore benefit from additional fluoride treatment. They include people with:

  • Dry mouth conditions: Also called xerostomia, dry mouth caused by diseases such as Sjögren’s syndrome, certain medications (such as allergy medications, antihistamines, antianxiety drugs, and high blood pressure drugs), and head and neck radiation treatment makes someone more prone to tooth decay. The lack of saliva makes it harder for food particles to be washed away and acids to be neutralized.
  • Gum disease: Gum disease, also called periodontitis, can expose more of your tooth and tooth roots to bacteria increasing the chance of tooth decay. Gingivitis is an early stage of periodontitis.
  • History of frequent cavities: If you have one cavity every year or every other year, you might benefit from additional fluoride.
  • Presence of crowns and/or bridges or braces: These treatments can put teeth at risk for decay at the point where the crown meets the underlying tooth structure or around the brackets of orthodontic appliances.

Ask your dentist if you could benefit from additional fluoride.

I Drink Bottled Water, Am I Missing Out on the Benefits of Fluoride?

Even though there are no scientific studies to suggest that people who drink bottled water are at increased risk of tooth decay, the American Dental Association (ADA) says that such people could be missing out on the decay-preventing effects of optimally fluoridated water available from their community water source. The ADA adds that most bottled waters do not contain optimal levels of fluoride, which is 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million (this is the amount that is in public water supplies, in the communities that have fluoridated water). To find out if your brand of bottled water contains any fluoride, check the label on the bottle or contact the bottle water manufacturer.

Are There Risks to Fluoride Treatments?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in tap water and in many dental cleaning products. It helps to prevent cavities and promote good oral health. In high doses fluoride can be harmful, however, the amount you are exposed to in fluoridated water and professional fluoride treatments is considered safe.

Prioritize Your Dental Health

A healthy life starts with a healthy smile. Neglecting to take care of your dental health can lead to painful, expensive, and irreversible damage to your smile. Our dentists Dr. Brian L. Porter or Dr. Kelley Joo, work with patients to help them take charge of their dental health. Schedule your dental check-up by reaching out to Brian L. Porter, DDS at 281-422-3415 today.

 

Brian L. Porter, DDS
1109 E. James Ave.
Baytown, TX 77520
281-422-3415
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