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Does a Fluoride Treatment Really Protect My Teeth?

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Does a Fluoride Treatment Really Protect My Teeth?

There has been much discussion about fluoride treatment over the years as communities have fought for adequate fluoride levels in their water supplies to help safeguard the health of families. Fluoride is a natural-occurring mineral that helps prevent cavities in adults and children by making tooth enamel more resistant to plaque and food acids that can trigger tooth decay.  Fluoride has a role even before teeth break through the gum tissue in very young mouths. Fluoride from water, foods, drinks, and treatments at your dentist’s office help make your teeth more resistant to decay and structurally stronger. Fluoride helps rebuild weakened tooth enamel and reverse the signs of tooth decay. The team at Mountain Aire Dentistry can educate you on the many benefits and advantages of regular treatments.  Schedule an appointment today to learn more.

The Power of Fluoride Treatments

The American Dental Association offers five reasons why fluoride is one of the best tools for preventing the most common disease impacting children today–tooth decay.  The reasons are pretty simple:  1) it helps prevent tooth decay; 2) safeguards all age groups from cavities; 3) it is safe and effective; 4) saves you money (it costs less money to have a fluoride treatment than to fill a cavity); and 5) it’s natural. Fluoride is found in our oceans and groundwater and is a naturally-occurring mineral.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Your team at Mountain Aire Dentistry can help you receive the benefits of it through regular treatments.

Understanding Fluoride

Fluoride packs a powerful punch against tooth-decaying plaque and acids that form from the food and drinks that come in contact with the tooth enamel of your teeth.  Plaque and acids eat at the enamel layer of your teeth and rob it of vital minerals used to keep your teeth strong and decay resistant.  If you are not actively working to replace these lost minerals, your teeth will begin to lose the fight and tooth decay will set in. Fluoride treatments help restore these vital minerals and nutrients to your teeth enamel strengthening it against future plaque/acid attacks.  

Who Benefits from Fluoride?

Fluoride benefits don’t stop with time–children and adults need this important mineral to stay ahead of tooth decay.  Even infants and toddlers can benefit.  The American Dental Association suggests that the peak time for maximum fluoride benefits are between the ages of 6 months to 16 years because of developing and erupting permanent teeth.  Building a strong foundation of healthy teeth takes planning, but will determine  how your permanent teeth develop and their overall strength.

What Fluoride Treatments Do You Offer?

Mountain Aire Dentistry offers a few different fluoride treatment options at our Broomfield office. The method we suggest for you will be determined by your age and other factors.  For most children, Dr. Berry recommends a topical varnish because it is much easier to use than most traditional rinses, foams and trays.  This easy-to-use varnish can be applied with: 1) a brush or cotton swab; 2)  through a rinse solution; 3) or placed in a tray that is held in your mouth for a few minutes.  You will be asked not to eat or drink for a minimum of 30 minutes after a treatment so that your teeth will have enough time to absorb the fluoride and repair the damaged areas.  Full absorption will continue over a period of 24 hours.  A fluoride treatment is typically the last part of your in-office dental cleaning and examination.

Risk Factors that Necessitate More Fluoride

The American Dental Association has listed specific conditions that increase your risk for developing decay or cavities and necessitate more frequent fluoride treatments. These conditions include:  

  • lack of regular professional dental care
  • active orthodontic treatment combined with poor oral hygiene
  • high levels of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth
  • exposed root surfaces of teeth
  • decreased salivary flow, resulting in dry mouth
  • poor diet
  • poor oral hygiene
  • active cavities
  • eating disorders
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • existing restorations (fillings)
  • tooth enamel defects
  • undergoing head and neck radiation therapy

By practicing good oral hygiene habits and scheduling (and keeping) your routine examinations with Dr. Berry, we can help you stay ahead of conditions that could endanger your overall mouth health.  Our caring staff is here to support your goals for superior health and to keep your smile bright through our state-of-the-art services.

Fluoride Treatment Frequency Explained

As was discussed previously, risk conditions can mean that some patients receive treatments more often than the average.  Furthermore, some health conditions/diseases will require that you receive a treatment every three, six or 12 months.  If you are a member of a high-risk group for tooth decay, after your comprehensive examination/consultation with Dr. Berry it may be recommended that supplementary, preventive measures are added to your treatment plan.  Some over-the-counter or prescription products–such as fluoride mouth rinses, gels or antibacterial mouth rinses–are prescribed to help keep your tooth enamel strong and your mouth healthy in-between visits to our office.

It is important to remember to talk with a member of our Mountain Aire Dentistry team before choosing to use any over-the-counter fluoride products that we haven’t already recommended to you. These products are NOT all the same.  Good products will have the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance on them letting you know they have been carefully screened by the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs and have met the standards for safety and effectiveness.  It is critical that you follow the product instructions carefully and keep the products away from young children. Too much fluoride can have negative, permanent effects on your teeth.

Fluoridated Water – Not a Stand Alone Treatment

Fluoridated is a huge help in safeguarding your teeth against the effects of plaque and food acids on your teeth, but it isn’t an effective stand-alone treatment.  You will still need to have your annual/semi-annual fluoride treatments at Mountain Aire Dentistry to keep your teeth, and your children’s teeth healthy and strong.  Although 62% of households in the United States have access to adequate fluoride levels, that leaves many without that added protection.  Make sure your water supply is part of that 62%! Fluoride is also found in toothpastes and some mouth rinses but should not be relied upon as your only source since the concentration is very small.  Treatments used in our Broomfield Mountain Aire Dentistry office give you a the concentrated dose you need and create results that will strengthen your teeth against tooth decay.  Research has taught us that children who have regular treatments–once every 6 months–have up to 40% fewer cavities than those who did not have the treatment.

Schedule Your Fluoride Treatment Today

Professional fluoride treatments are a critical part of patient action plans for preventing cavities and periodontal disease.  They help you maintain a healthy, bright smile. To learn more about available treatments or to schedule an appointment, call our Broomfield office today at 303-872-7755.  Protecting the health of your teeth involves dedicated planning, expert skills, and effective tools and treatments.  Fluoride treatments are just one of the many ways our team at Mountain Aire Dentistry is keeping your mouth (and body) healthy.