Who Should Consider a Fluoride Treatment?
To know if you need to have a fluoride treatment in your plans, you first need to understand the importance of fluoride to dental health.
Our teeth’s enamel takes in and loses minerals every day, through the processes of remineralization and demineralization. While both processes are completely normal, there needs to be a balance in order to ensure good oral health. Demineralization, which is the loss of minerals from a tooth’s enamel occurs when acids from bacteria and sugars in the mouth attack the enamel. Through diet and healthy dental practices, we allow for remineralization, where important minerals like calcium, fluoride, and phosphate are redeposited back to the tooth’s enamel.
Why Is Fluoride Important?
The enamel serves a very important role in protecting the structure of a tooth. Any form of damage to the enamel like cavities leaves a tooth at risk of decay. Fluoride is an essential mineral that helps make teeth more resistant to attacks from plaque and sugars in the mouth, which in the end prevents tooth decay. And in the event that the tooth is in the initial stages of decay due to demineralization, a fluoride treatment dentist can reverse this by hastening the remineralization process. This is because fluoride interrupts acid production in the mouth of both adults and children. You can further learn on the importance of fluoride by consulting a dentist in Auburn, AL.
Who Qualifies for a Fluoride Treatment?
Having learned of the importance of fluoride, you might be curious to know what qualifies you as a candidate for the treatment. Family dentistry recommends the treatment for anyone wishing to keep their teeth strong and healthy. For children, the treatment starts to take place after they start to develop permanent teeth.
Nevertheless, for some people, fluoride treatment is not an option, but the only solution. These includes:
Cavity Patients – If you are already suffering from cavities, it is a sign of demineralization, which leaves the tooth vulnerable. Scheduling for treatment will facilitate remineralization so that your teeth are better guarded against oral bacteria.
People with Poor Oral Hygiene Practices – Toothpaste and mouthwash products contain fluoride that helps protect teeth against decay. The fluoride in these products interacts with the saliva to remineralize the surface of the tooth. it also interacts with other minerals like calcium and phosphate to create a protective layer on the teeth.
Those with Reduced Salivation – Some conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome and medications make the mouth dry, leaving you prone to tooth decay. This is because the saliva helps wash down food particles and also neutralizes the mouth. When there isn’t enough saliva, you have more food particles remaining in the mouth, which promote an acidic environment that wears down the tooth enamel. A regular fluoride treatment thus becomes necessary to prevent decay.
Other groups of people that need regular treatment include those with drug and alcohol problems, people with other existing dental treatments like crowns or braces, those suffering from gum disease and people with a history of frequent cavities.
In What Forms Is Fluoride Available?
Fluoride occurs naturally in all water sources but in varying amounts. Some traces of it can also be found in some foods. So, besides drinking water, the other common way in which we all introduce fluoride to the teeth is through the use of toothpaste. When these methods do not provide enough of the needed amounts, we then turn to professional fluoride treatments.
Most Auburn dentist offices provide fluoride treatment for both adults and children in various forms depending on the severity of the situation. You can be offered a simple rinse, a gel or foam paste and, in some cases, a protective fluoride varnish. The treatment procedure is often very short and simple. It is recommended that you take the treatment every 3-12 months depending on your needs. In case you are not sure about how often you and your family need the treatment, do not hesitate to contact a family dentist near you to get an expert opinion. Fluoride supplements are also available but should be taken under a doctor’s subscription.
Take note that while fluoride is good for your teeth, excessive amounts of the mineral may lead to tooth discoloration, a condition known as fluorosis. The condition often occurs when the teeth are still forming, usually in children below 6 years. It is therefore important to test fluoride levels in water sources used.