Fluoride treatments help to prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. Typically, fluoride treatments are given to children after the permanent teeth have erupted in order to strengthen the enamel of the adult teeth that are forming in the gums. Adults can also benefit from topical fluoride treatments by applying the fluoride directly to the surface of the teeth using foam trays or gels.
Importance of Fluoride in cavity prevention
Fluoride treatments work to strengthen the tooth’s enamel and make it less prone to decay by hardening the outer layers of the teeth and making the cavity-causing bacteria less able to penetrate the enamel. Additionally, fluoride can even reverse early signs of tooth decay when applied topically to the surface of the tooth.
Topically-applied fluoride can be especially helpful for patients who struggle with oral hygiene because its effects can last up to four hours after treatment. Dentists can prescribe at-home fluoride treatments for patients thanks to the variety of professionally-formulated toothpaste and mouth rinses that also deliver the benefits of fluoride without the need to visit the dentist’s office.
How does fluoride work?
Fluoride not only helps to rebuild and strengthen tooth enamel but also helps to prevent tooth decay. When fluoride enters a mouth that is low in natural sugars and starches, it actively works to repair the teeth. This means that fluoride treatments can benefit people of all ages, from young children to adults. In fact, some dentists offer special “restorative” fluoride treatments for patients who have developed more widespread cavities due to neglect or bad habits in the past.
These treatments are especially helpful for patients who struggle with frequent dry mouth, a condition that causes a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva acts as a defensive barrier between the teeth and harmful acids in the food or drinks that we consume every day. Without enough saliva, our teeth are left much more vulnerable on a daily basis. A dentist may recommend additional fluoride treatments with restorative care in order to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent further destruction to the teeth.
Who should get fluoride treatments?
You could benefit from professional fluoride treatment if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Dry, brittle teeth that crack or break easily
- Discolored enamel with brown spots or streaks
- Gums that are swollen, red, and bleed easily
- Sensitive teeth that hurt when exposed to hot or cold temperatures
- Additionally, professional fluoride treatments are the only way to get the maximum level of fluoride available without a prescription.
The treatment can be administered quickly and comfortably, often without the patient even being aware of it. It only takes five to ten minutes to complete.
To find out more about the dental services offered at Christopherson Family Dentistry, call (715) 344-9684 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 2901 Church St, Stevens Point, WI 54481.