Practicing common dental hygiene habits, including daily brushing and flossing, can keep you on the path to good oral health and a confident smile. Yet, at times, you may find that other measures can boost your efforts even more, such as undergoing fluoride treatments. While many patients consider this type of treatment to be for children only, it can also be beneficial for adults as well today.
What is Fluoride Important?
Fluoride is a beneficial, naturally occurring mineral found in most water sources and in specific foods. It is also an important component in the makeup of your teeth, with its role being to help strengthen the tooth enamel and protect you from developing decay and cavities.
While minuscule amounts of fluoride can be included in some dental care products, including toothpastes and mouthwashes, patients with a higher risk of developing tooth decay can benefit more from a specially-applied fluoride treatment in a dental office.
5 Benefits of Fluoride Treatments
Both adults and children can receive the following five benefits from undergoing fluoride treatments.
1. Reestablishes and Protects Tooth Enamel
Fluoride helps to protect tooth enamel against acid-causing bacteria. It also can reverse previous damage by a process known as remineralization, putting minerals back in and helping to rebuild the tooth and strengthen any weak spots.
Loss of enamel occurs when acids develop from a buildup of plaque in the mouth, which then attach to the tooth enamel and cause it to begin to break down. Minerals are lost as a result, and the tooth is weakened. The application of a topical fluoride can help to restore the minerals and reestablish the tooth’s enamel surface.
2. Limits Tooth Decay and Cavities
Fluoride treatments help to limit the development of excessive tooth decay and cavities in both adults and children. The applied fluoride fills in any microscopic holes that form during initial stages of decay and also kills bacteria that may become lodged in what are called the tubules in the teeth.
This protection prevents the progression of any decay to the deeper layers of the tooth, preventing more problems from occurring. The additional fluoride can also inhibit new bacterial growth and prevent future cavities.
3. Helps Ease Teeth Sensitivity
With the breakdown of tooth enamel, your teeth can become more sensitive. As a result, you may have trouble consuming cold, warm, or hot liquids, such as coffee or milkshakes, without experiencing discomfort. Your teeth may also be sensitive to temperature and pressure changes.
Sensitivity occurs when tooth enamel erodes and the soft underlayer, dentin, becomes exposed. This porous layer, without the enamel shielding, can expose the nerves of a tooth, resulting in noticeable sensitivity. A fluoride treatment will fill in the tiny exposure holes or pits and prevent that underlayer from remaining exposed.
You can also experience sensitivity due to receding gums. In such cases, a fluoride treatment can help by sealing the porous dentin layers in the receding gum area.
4. Involves a Painless, Non-Invasive, and Quick Procedure
Fluoride treatments are painless, non-invasive, and quick, usually completed in less than ten minutes.
The process involves the application of a professional-strength topical fluoride directly to your teeth. This application may occur in one of three ways – varnish, gel, or foam.
- Varnish, or liquid application: Using a small brush, your dentist will apply the fluoride varnish or liquid to the surface of your teeth and, if applicable, to the receding gums if tooth is beginning to show.
- Gel application: Application of a gel fluoride can occur with the use of mouth trays or a small brush.
- Foam application: For a foam application, a mouth tray is filled with the foam then inserted into your mouth, where it will stay for 3-5 minutes.
5. Limits Future Dental Care Needs and Expenses
Fluoride treatments can also serve as a preventive measure, keeping your teeth stronger and healthier throughout your lifetime and reducing the risk of developing more serious oral health issues.
You will have fewer cavities and tooth decay buildup, lowering your chances for developing bad breath or requiring dental restorations such as crowns or implants. In turn, you will be able to avoid excessive visits to your dentist and reduce the overall costs for maintaining a healthy mouth and smile.
Contact Lifetime Dental Health Today to Find Out If Fluoride Treatments Will Benefit You or Your Child
While fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, not everyone easily receives enough of it to keep their teeth strong, healthy, and more resistant to developing decay. Dr. Richard Barry and his team at Lifetime Dental Health can help both adults and children by providing professional-strength fluoride treatments as needed to maintain strong and healthy teeth. Contact our dental team today to learn more about the benefits and to schedule an appointment.