Dentists have used fluoride treatments for decades in order to help protect teeth from decay. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and in our modern water systems. Fluoride is a necessary mineral to the human body because of the natural demineralization that occurs on a regular basis. Every day, minerals are added to and lost from the skin, bones, and teeth. Remineralization also occurs on a daily basis, but if demineralization (minerals being lost) occurs at a greater rate than remineralization (minerals being added), then the enamel of the teeth becomes extremely vulnerable to decay.
Fluoride treatments have been used by dentists for many years to increase the teeth’s resistance to the constant assault that they are under. Every day your teeth are at the center of a battle between bacteria and the acids that they produce. Plaque buildup occurs throughout any given day as the bacteria inside your mouth react with the foods and beverages that you consume. As plaque builds up, your teeth become more vulnerable to weakening. Fluoride helps make the teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque, and it can also reverse early decay.
While fluoride is found in certain tooth pastes and mouth rinses, when patients need a higher concentration of fluoride, they must visit the dentist. Fluoride treatments that are performed in the dentist’s office can be applied as a gel, foam, or varnish. These treatments contain a much higher level of fluoride than can be found in any over the counter product, making them much more effective for their uses.
Fluoride treatments are often prescribed for the following individuals who meet one or more of these criteria:
- active orthodontic treatment
- drug or alcohol use
- dry mouth
- eating disorder
- genetic predisposition
- gum recession
- irregular dental visits
- poor diet
- poor oral hygiene
- the use of certain medications
- undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy
Dr. Wayne G. Suway has dedicated his entire dental practice to achieving and maintaining optimal oral health for his patients. Fluoride treatments are painless and quick, yet they can provide a generous amount of protection to your smile. If you would like more information regarding fluoride treatments and whether you or your child could benefit from them, please contact our practice today.