A dental fluoride treatment is one of the safest ways to protect our teeth from cavities. It is also one of the simplest ways. The many benefits of fluoride treatment include strengthening tooth enamel and remineralizing the structure of the tooth to prevent cavities. People are can have more cavities if they have poor oral hygiene, a high-sugar diet, or medications that make the teeth susceptible to breaking down.
Here are four reasons why a fluoride treatment can be beneficial for you.
Our teeth are exposed to sugars every day through what we eat and drink. It is a common misconception that cavities are only caused only by sweets such as candy and beverages including soda and juice. While these high-sugar-content foods can cause cavities, a majority of cavities are caused by refined sugars and processed white flour carbohydrates. Most diets consist of a high frequency of pastas, breads, crackers, cereal, and desserts, exposing the teeth to sugars around the clock.
Cavities are caused by bacteria in our mouth breaking down the sugars from our meals to create an acid. This acid weakens or demineralizes the enamel surface and eventually causes a small hole, otherwise known as a cavity. The minerals in our saliva help buffer these acids to prevent the breakdown of the enamel. This process is called remineralization. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps increase the remineralization process and prevent tooth decay. For those of us with poor or high-carbohydrate diets, a fluoride treatment is not only beneficial, but also necessary.
Fluoride treatments are beneficial for both young people and adults. Since fluoride helps remineralize teeth, it is a great adjunct to brushing and flossing to help prevent cavities in any high-risk patient. This can include a child with a sweet tooth, a special needs patient, or an elderly patient with dry mouth.
A fluoride treatment is not just for children—ask your dentist about getting a professional fluoride treatment to also help alleviate dental sensitivity. Often, as we age, we see recession near our gums where small parts of the root surface are exposed. This type of sensitivity can be uncomfortable while eating and drinking, and a fluoride treatment can improve this condition.
Teeth whitening is a common dental treatment to help brighten smiles and improve self-esteem. Unfortunately, many people experience discomfort while whitening because of post-sensitivity. Many dentists will recommend pre- and post-professional fluoride treatments to help reduce post-whitening sensitivity. They will also help coat your teeth in vitamins to help nourish them and protect your mouth from dehydration, which can raise your risk for tooth decay.
A professional fluoride treatment is so simple that you can eat and drink immediately after your application. This is because newer fluoride treatments are done using a fluoride varnish, which is a paint that adheres to your teeth for several hours.
The process of a fluoride treatment involves the application of fluoride in the form of a varnish, gel, or foam. The fluoride is applied directly into the tooth to form and serve as a protective layer. You can help restore your teeth to optimal health by avoiding hot foods or rinsing for a short period of time.
A fluoride treatment can benefit people of all ages. If you are in orthodontic treatment, have poor oral hygiene and are prone to cavities, or are undergoing any type of radiation treatment, consider reaching out to your dentist as soon as possible to schedule a fluoride treatment to prevent your teeth from developing any cavities.
Dr. Erica Anand is a pediatric dentist in private practice focused on preventative dentistry including SDF, SMART fillings, and myofunctional therapy. She also writes professionally in the dental industry, working with marketing and consulting firms.