Four Things to Know About Fluoride
Fluoride treatment is one of the preventive dentistry services that we offer. It offers great benefits, and here are four facts you need to know about fluoride.
1. It strengthens the Teeth
The enamel is the hard outer layer, and it contains calcium and phosphate that make it strong. However, because of our habits, these minerals are stripped out, leaving the enamel weak.
Fluoride helps in the reabsorption of these minerals and also strengthens the enamel.
2. Fluoride Treats Various Dental Conditions
Apart from hardening your teeth, our dentist in Easley, SC, may recommend fluoride to treat the following dental conditions:
- Dry mouth. You may develop a dry mouth for various reasons such as medications, stress, and nutritional deficiencies. If you have a dry mouth, your salivary glands don’t produce adequate saliva. You would feel uncomfortable and be at risk of cavities. Fluoride helps to counter this effect and also protects against cavities.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation may put you at risk of getting cavities. It damages the salivary glands, thereby affecting saliva production.
- Periodontitis is also known as gum disease. The condition exposes your tooth and its roots to bacteria, increasing the chance of tooth decay. If you already have the ailment, our dentist applies fluoride on your already eroded enamel. The treatment restores the lost minerals on the surface of the tooth. It hinders the growth of harmful bacteria and prevents further decay.
3. It is Available in Different Types?
As mentioned earlier, fluoride is found naturally in foods and water. You can apply it directly to your teeth through fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinses. Mouth rinses and toothpaste contain fluoride treatments for adults and children in lower strengths.
Our dental associates in Easley, SC, can apply fluoride at the office in the form of gel, foam, or varnish. Such fluoride treatments for adults are available at a dentist’s prescription containing more substantial fluoride concentrations than the amounts found in toothpaste and rinses.
Fluoride is also found in the form of supplements. The supplements are available in tablets or liquids and must be prescribed by a dentist.
4. It’s Easy to Be Done
Fluoride treatment can be done at home with a doctor’s prescription or at the dentist’s office. Our dentist applies the fluorides differently depending on the form we are using. The dentist applies the concentrated rinse, gel, or varnish. He will use a brush to paint the varnish. Alternatively, the dentist will put the foam in a tray or mouth guard, then fit it on the teeth for one to four minutes.
After application, you are advised to avoid drinking or eating for 30 minutes. This is to allow the teeth to absorb the foam, gel, or varnish fully. Additionally, the fluoride repairs microscopic areas eroded by cavities.
The frequency of the fluoride treatment will differ based on your dental needs and the risk of cavities. However, on average, the dentist may recommend the therapy every 3, 6, or 12 months. If you are prone to cavities, we recommend using fluoride at home in the form of mouth rinse or gel.
What Are the Risks Involved?
Fluoride therapy is highly effective and safe. However, it can be hazardous if you use it in higher doses, more so in children. The excess fluoride affects the teeth enamel by forming white spots or brown discoloration.
The defects on the tooth enamel are known as dental fluorosis. The condition mainly affects children below 6 to 8 years whose permanent teeth are still erupting. As a parent, encourage your child to spit fluoridated toothpaste after brushing and avoid swallowing it.
After the fluoride therapy, our dentist will guide you on what not to eat after fluoride treatment. Avoid hot drinks, hard foods, alcohol, brushing, or flossing six hours after the therapy. It is okay to consume soft foods or cold drinks 30 minutes to 1 hour after the treatment.
Schedule an Appointment
Fluoride therapy shouldn’t replace your regular brushing and flossing. Please continue with your usual oral care tips and visit Dental Associates of Easley two times per year.