Fluoride is a hotly debated subject. Though some argue an excess of fluoride has the potential to cause harm, dentists and medical professionals agree fluoride is necessary for optimal oral health. Fluoride treatment helps prevent tooth decay and other oral health issues in people of all ages.
Ideally, a dentist’s office will provide these fluoride treatments. Such fluoride preparations are much stronger than those in mouthwash and toothpaste available in local stores. The application of a fluoride treatment at our clinic will likely take a couple minutes at most. Our dentists usually provide the fluoride in the form of a gel, solution, varnish or foam. Our dentists often apply the fluoride with a tray, rinse, brush or cotton swab.
The fluoride then remains in the mouth for minutes. After the three minutes are up, the patient needs to refrain from drinking, eating and rinsing the mouth for at least half an hour. This amount of time is necessary to allow the absorption of the fluoride directly into the teeth. It also allows for the repair of microscopic carious sites.
The Frequency of Fluoride Treatments
The frequency of this treatment hinges on one’s oral health status. In some instances, fluoride treatments are ideal every three months. Other patients will benefit from fluoride treatments every six months or once per year. The dentist might also recommend other preventive measures if the patient faces a moderate or high risk for the development of caries. Such measures can include fluoridated mouth rinses, gels or other prescription therapeutic products.
Are Fluoride Treatments Appropriate for Patients of all Ages?
In most instances, fluoride treatments are reduced in frequency or completely end when the patient reaches age 14. However, this is primarily due to the fact that 14 is the age when insurance companies no longer cover the cost of topical fluoride treatments. The truth is fluoride treatments are effective for patients of all ages.
Fluoride is capable of bonding to the structure of teeth similar to calcium. It is a hard substance that fortifies tooth strength. Adults are in need of strong teeth just as much as kids and teenagers. This is especially true for adults with multiple crowns, sites of tooth erosion, leaky margins and damaged teeth that have exposed dentin.
Fluoride treatment will make these sites that much stronger and resistant to damage/decay. Fluoride treatment will also make these areas less sensitive.
Benefits of fluoride treatments
- It helps the body better use minerals, such as calcium and phosphate. The teeth reabsorb these minerals to repair weak tooth enamel.
- It joins into the tooth structure when teeth are developing to strengthen the enamel of the teeth, making them less vulnerable to bacteria and cavities for life.
- It slows or even reverses the development of cavities by harming bacteria that cause cavities.
Side effects of fluoride
Some natural health advocates have expressed concern about fluoride at high doses. They also argue that fluoride is not safe for children, and even that fluoridated water may be dangerous.
However, it is a myth that fluoride treatments or fluoridated water cause widespread harm, although some people may experience some side effects, including;
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Answers to questions
Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, is found in different sources such as water, food, toothpaste, and mouth rinses. Using fluoride regularly can help strengthen your teeth. Every day our teeth lose minerals like calcium and phosphate, which can make the enamel weaker. Fluoride helps with the re-absorption of these minerals and also prevents decay. In some cases, fluoride can reverse mild dental decay.
Fluoride treatment is available as at-home kits and professional treatments. We recommend using professional treatment because the dentist can control the amount of fluoride to use. Using At-home fluoride kits increases the risk of overdosing. You can, however, get the customized at-home trays, which are recommended for post-radiation patients.
Fluoride treatment can be applied topically or systematically. The in-office treatment is topical and involves the use of fluoride varnish, gels, and foams. We the dentist will first deep clean the teeth to get rid of buildup. Using swabs or brush, then we will apply fluoride on the surface of the teeth. You should avoid eating food 30 minutes after the gel or foam solution is applied to allow the fluoride to be absorbed.
We recommends getting the in-office fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months depending on your dental health. If you are at risk of dental cavities, then having frequent treatments may be recommended.
Yes, but if they are above three years. Children are prone to dental cavities, and it is paramount to protect the primary teeth (act as placeholders) to support their dental health.
Fluoride treatment is recommended for children, but adults can also benefit from it, especially if they suffer from:
- Dry mouth. Saliva not only contains fluoride but helps to clean the teeth of any food particles and therefore prevents bacteria growth. Having a low production of saliva will increase your risk of developing dental cavities because you don’t have enough saliva to clean the mouth.
- The presence of dental restorations, such as bridges and crowns, can warrant regular fluoride treatments. The crowns, veneers, and bridges can trap food particles and weaken the teeth.
- Periodontal disease leads to receding gums, which exposes your teeth to bacterial attacks and makes them prone to decay.
- If you are undergoing radiation therapy, you need fluoride support. Radiation causes dry mouth and increases the risk of decay. Furthermore, it affects the dental tissue and increases the risk of de-mineralization, which causes the enamel to weaken and be prone to attack.
Too much fluoride can affect your dental health. You can overdose on fluoride if you use fluoride and also consume the supplements. Dental fluorosis is prevalent in children because they easily swallow the fluoride toothpaste. Fluorosis can cause:
- Tooth discoloration. Fluoride overdose causes white specks, staining and pitting on the teeth
- It affects bone homeostasis, the process remodeling and creating new bone
- Dense, but brittle bones
- Allergic reactions which cause skin irritation
- Acute toxicity that leads to diarrhea, nausea, excessive swelling, and tiredness