The benefits of Fluoride treatments help if you have a history of cavities or sensitivity by strengthening the tooth enamel. Fluoride treatments also help with the re-mineralization process that is caused by bacteria and acidity in your saliva. Teeth naturally go through phases of demineralization and remineralization throughout the day. It is during the demineralization stage teeth are most susceptible to cavities and sensitivity. Fluoride treatment is excellent for everyone young or old.
Fluoride treatments are recommended for as long as you have natural teeth to help prevent cavities.
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 foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
Fluoride works in two ways:
Topical fluoride 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 gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental hygiene routine recall.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the 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.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. The use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments may be recommended for the following reasons:
• Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
• Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
• Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
• Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
• Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
• Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
• Recent history of dental decay.
• Cancer and undergoing radiation therapy
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 dental hygienist on a regular basis.