Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s found in certain foods (meats and dairy) water, toothpastes and mouth washes. Its primary benefit is to keep the enamel of our teeth healthy, strong and more resistant to the acids in our mouths that are created by plaque and sugars.
So do we need more of it? Every day is an ebb and flow of fluoride within our bodies. While we may gain fluoride naturally, we also lose it when built up plaque bacteria in our mouths erode the enamel of our teeth. When we start losing more fluoride than we’re depositing (taking in), that’s when tooth decay and cavities occur. And that’s where fluoride treatments can help.
While fluoride dental treatments are usually associated with kids, these treatments can also be beneficial for fighting tooth decay as we age.
Kids and teens up to 16 years old benefit from routine fluoride treatments to help strengthen their developing teeth and fight off cavities, but adults can benefit from a little extra fluoride protection too, especially if they have certain conditions that increase their risk for tooth decay.
- You Often Have a Dry Mouth – Lack of saliva from a dry mouth makes it harder for food particles to be washed away and acids to be neutralized (hello plaque), putting your teeth at a greater risk of getting cavities. Some common causes of dry mouth include stress, some medications, aging, smoking and certain health conditions.
- You Have Gum Disease and Gum Recession – Both of these can also expose more of your tooth and tooth roots to bacteria which increase the likelihood of tooth decay.
- You Have Existing Dental Work – Some dental treatments, like crowns, bridges, or even braces, can increase your risk of tooth decay, such as where the crown meets the underlying tooth structure or around the brackets of braces.
- You Have a History of Frequent Cavities – If you have one cavity every year, or every other year, you may benefit from additional fluoride.
- You’re a Frequent Snacker – The more times you snack throughout the day, the greater your risk for tooth decay. Most snacks consist of carbs and sugars, the stuff that really fuels plaque buildup.
- You Have Deep Pits and Grooves in Your Teeth – Even you floss and brush your teeth, it’s sometimes difficult to always remove some of the extra food debris that can build up in these areas. When these particles are trapped, your teeth are exposed to plaque for longer periods, increasing your risk for tooth decay.
Getting a Fluoride Treatment So what exactly is a fluoride treatment? The fluoride treatments we offer consist of in-office fluoride varnish treatments, as well as anti-cavity prescription toothpastes, like Clinpro 5000. A fluoride varnish treatment involves applying fluoride topically to your teeth. The in-office fluoride treatment is simple, painless, and fast, and it involves applying fluoride in the form of varnish directly onto the teeth. These fluoride treatments typically take just a few minutes. Learn more about the fluoride treatments at North Seattle Dental.
Both of these treatments contain a much higher level of fluoride than the amount found in toothpastes and mouth rinses.
Fluoride treatments can definitely help make your teeth stronger, more resistant to decay and also less sensitive to hot and cold.
If you’re having trouble with cavities, a little additional fluoride could work wonders to keep your teeth cavity free. Consider it good insurance, compared to the cost of dealing with fillings. Keep the holes out of your teeth and out of your wallet.