Fluoride has been show by more than 70 years of scientific research to prevent tooth decay by at least 25% in both children and adults, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Beyond this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
According to the ADA, you can thank fluoride for why tooth decay has been markedly reduced. Because fluoride fights against cavities and tooth decay it is vital for both children and adults.
Fluoride (and fluoridation) are safe methods for protecting your smile when they are used appropriately. There are many benefits and advantages of regular fluoride treatments and practices. Read on to learn more!
Why Use Fluoride?
The American Dental Association suggests five reasons why fluoride is one of the best methods for supporting oral health: 1) it prevents tooth decay; 2) protects all age groups from cavities; 3) it is effective and safe; 4) saves money (less to pay for fluoridating water/treatments than to fill cavities); and 5) it’s natural.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural-occurring mineral found in oceans and groundwater. It makes teeth more resistant to plaque and acid which impact teeth every time you eat or drink.
Your tooth’s enamel layer is robbed of vital minerals everyday when plaque bacteria and sugars turn acidic on your teeth. Bacteria feed on your enamel allowing decay to grow and spread. Over time, these lost minerals must be replaced or your teeth will begin to lose the fight and decay. Fluoride returns vital minerals and nutrients to teeth to boost enamel strength and durability.
Which Ages Need Fluoride Treatments?
Both adults and children benefit from fluoride. (Even infants and toddlers.) From 6 months to 16 years, fluoride use is critical because of the development process of permanent teeth. The health of primary teeth and gums will influence the health of permanent teeth when they erupt.
What Fluoride Treatments Are Available?
A child’s age and other factors determine which fluoride treatment will be used. Children typically receive a topical varnish when visiting our Li’l Sunshine Smile office. This varnish is easily applied with a cotton swab or brush, through a rinse solution, or it can be placed in a tray that is held in the mouth for a few minutes.
Following a fluoride treatment, patients shouldn’t eat or drink for at least 30 minutes so teeth can absorb the fluoride and repair microscopic areas. Absorption will typically continue over a period of 24 hours and is the last process of a regular dental cleaning.
How Do You Know if You Need More?
The American Dental Association has listed certain conditions that could amplify your need of fluoride treatments:
- decreased salivary flow, resulting in dry mouth
- poor diet
- 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
- poor oral hygiene
- active cavities
- eating disorders
- drug or alcohol abuse
- existing restorations (fillings)
- tooth enamel defects
- undergoing head and neck radiation therapy
Routine examinations with Dr. Cat will help you fight these conditions and keep your mouth healthy. Our expert staff is here to help you receive what you need to not only maintain your health but to achieve optimum oral health.
But My Water is Fluoridated, Do I Still Need Treatment?
Luckily, in the United States, most city water supplies are fluoridated. 62% of the U.S. population that uses public water supplies has access to adequate levels. While fluoride is also found in toothpastes, and mouth rinses, the concentration from these sources is very small and should not be your only source.
Treatments used in our Li’l Sunshine Smiles office give you a much more concentrated dose. Because of this, our treatments produce results that will help you stand up to tooth decay. Studies show that children who receive regular treatments–once every 6 months–have up to 40% fewer cavities than those who do not receive this treatment.
Schedule A Treatment Today
Fluoride treatments are a fast and efficient way to fight tooth decay. To learn more about our treatments or to schedule an appointment, call our office today at 813-576-0200!