What is Fluoride Treatment?
Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all food and water. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
Why have Fluoride Treatment?
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
- Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surface of teeth
- Exposed and sensitive root surfaces
- Fair-to-poor oral hygiene habits
- Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake
- Inadequate exposure to fluorides
- Inadequate flow of saliva due to medical conditions, treatments or medications
- Recent history of dental decay
How does it Work?
This strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We get topical fluoride from fluoride-containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists generally recommend that children and adults have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
This strengthens the teeth that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most food and our community water supply. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children through their teen years. It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.
Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks and visit your dentist on a regular basis.