While brushing and flossing each day are critical for keeping your teeth and gums healthy, if you have not scheduled a fluoride treatment for your teeth recently, you could be missing out on another important component of good oral health.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that is essential for preventing cavities and building strong teeth. This mineral has been essential in maintaining good oral health for decades. Along with fighting bacteria that can harm your teeth and gums, fluoride also supports your tooth enamel. This is an outer protective layer of the teeth. Once the enamel is worn away, your teeth become far more susceptible to decay.
Fluoride is particularly beneficial for individuals who may be at a higher risk for developing cavities. Dental caries, also known as cavities, develop when bacteria build up on the gums and teeth. A sticky layer known as plaque then develops. This layer produces a strong acid capable of eroding away at the gum tissue and teeth. Once the enamel layer that protects the teeth has broken down, bacteria can enter and infect the nerves of the teeth.
What to Expect During a Fluoride Treatment for Teeth
Professional fluoride treatments are available in a variety of forms, including concentrated foams, rinses, varnishes, and gels. These treatments are typically applied with a mouthwash, tray, brush, or swab.
One of the most common questions that many people have about fluoride treatments is whether they are necessary if you have fluoride in your water or use a toothpaste with fluoride. Professional treatments in a dental office contain more fluoride than what is present in your toothpaste or water. Most people do not receive enough fluoride in either their toothpaste or water to provide the protection their gums and teeth need for optimal health.
The American Dental Association recommends receiving a professional fluoride treatment at least once a year. Depending on your oral health, the ADA may recommend receiving treatments every three months. Individuals who are at high risk for developing cavities may benefit from a specially prescribed fluoride gel or rinse that can be used at home.
Individuals who are at a higher risk for developing cavities include those who have or engage in the following:
- An eating disorder
- Excessive alcohol or drug use
- Poor oral hygiene
- Dry mouth
- Weak enamel
- Poor diet
- Lack of professional dental care
It only takes a few minutes to receive a fluoride treatment. Following the treatment, you may be advised to avoid drinking or eating for 30 minutes. This is to ensure the fluoride has sufficient time to be fully absorbed.
The Benefits of Fluoride
Fluoride helps to protect your oral health by restoring minerals to the surface of the teeth where enamel may have been eroded by bacteria. Additionally, fluoride can help to prohibit the growth of bacteria, thus preventing the development of further cavities.
The ADA recommends getting fluoride both systemically, through your diet, as well as topically. At North View Dental, we offer a comfortable and professional office with a variety of services to protect your oral health. We invite you to call with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment.