You may have heard of fluoride before, but how important is it for healthy teeth? For most people, it’s very important. Professional fluoride treatments only take a few minutes and come in the forms of solution, foam, varnish, or gel. There are also treatments at home that you can do to strengthen your smile. Dentists have used fluoride treatments in-office for decades to better preserve the health of their patients’ teeth. Fluoride helps strengthen the teeth and helps reduce your risk for dental caries. How? It helps prevent plaque from decaying the teeth and also helps speed remineralization. There are many benefits to receiving fluoride treatments for a healthier mouth. Find out more about fluoride and how it can help your oral health!
Every time you eat, there is more than just digestion taking place. Minerals such as calcium, phosphate, and fluoride help keep your teeth healthy, strong and intact. Each time you eat, the sugars that make up plaque slowly demineralize your teeth, meaning that they strip away some of those minerals from your tooth enamel. That is why you want to avoid consuming too many sugary sweets, as you have more demineralization taking place. The only way to keep your teeth strong is to consistently remineralize the teeth by adding in the good minerals from foods, drinks, and special treatments.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay. It has the ability to help your teeth become more resistant to the acid that is found in plaque and is the cause of such erosion and demineralization. Fluoride acts as a barrier from the plaque that can harm your teeth and can even reverse early tooth decay. It can also disrupt acid production from taking place in your mouth.
Fluoride is found in the foods you eat and in many of the drinks you consume. In all the states throughout the United States, fluoride is found in water. Once states began adding fluoride to their water sources, it lowered the amount of cases of tooth decay. If you are a patient that needs more fluoride than what is found in drinking water, there are also many fluoridated toothpastes and mouthrinses that can give you an extra fluoride treatment. However, any product you can buy over-the-counter will have a lower concentration than an in-office fluoride treatment can provide you.
In the dental office, you can receive a fluoride treatment as a separate service or with your dental cleaning. Generally, patients receive this treatment with their dental cleaning as the last step before their appointment is over. A routine dental cleaning will include scaling and polishing of the teeth as well as a thorough cleaning to prevent excessive plaque buildup. After the teeth have been cleaned, we often provide a quick fluoride treatment.
Topical fluorides are applied directly to your tooth enamel. This is either in the form of a solution, gel, varnish or foam. Many dentists fill small trays with a fluoride treatment and then place it in your mouth where it will sit for a minute or so. Then patients are advised to avoid eating or drinking for about 30 minutes afterwards. The American Dental Association reports that dentists have used in-office fluoride treatments for decades to help protect the oral health of their patients. If you are a patient that has a higher risk for cavities (or has had many in the past), then you will probably receive a fluoride treatment.
Fluoride acts as an awesome barrier against plaque. Dental sealants also help protect your teeth and seal them away from bacteria that would cause harm. Sealants are used to fill narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque. Sometimes a patient simply can’t reach these areas and a cavity forms. When a patient receives a dental sealant, Dr. Berry will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits of the teeth. This makes it possible to brush off all the plaque and prevents that plaque from seeping inside the tooth.
Fluoride can be very beneficial for the teeth, however, you can’t solely use it and expect a healthy mouth. Other oral hygiene habits must be established to keep your pearly whites bright and healthy. The American Dental Association recommends brushing the teeth at least twice a day. We second that recommendation and would even challenge our patients to brush more than twice a day. When the teeth are kept clean, plaque doesn’t get a chance to erode your tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.
Flossing is highly important as well because it gets into all the nooks and crannies of your teeth as well as the spaces in between them. Cavities like to form between the teeth. Flossing can get the plaque out that would cause your teeth damage. As always, we recommend coming into the office at least every 6 months for a comprehensive exam and a dental cleaning. Only then can your teeth receive an extensive deep clean and comprehensive examination by the dentist. Patients who follow these recommendations tend to have healthier teeth and fewer cavities.
If you want a beautiful smile, you have to work for it! Clean your teeth properly each and every day to keep them healthy. Make them stronger with fluoride treatments that you can easily receive in-office. If you need to schedule your exam and cleaning, call our Mountain Aire Dentistry office today at (303) 731-7755!