It has been believed for some time that fluoride provided a great benefit for dental health. That is why the majority of communities across the United States added fluoride to city water. But with the advent of bottled water and the creation of so many different beverages, it became apparent that in order to receive the fluoride needed to protect dentition, fluoride treatments available through your dentist were an important addition for your dental care.
What Exactly Is Fluoride and What Does It Do?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in your bones and teeth. It can also be found in water, soil, plants, rocks, and air. As pertains to dentistry, fluoride is used to strengthen dental enamel, the protective outer covering on teeth.
The mouth contains bacteria which breaks down sugars you consume. This bacteria produces acids that can erode needed healthy minerals resulting in demineralization in teeth. This process results in weakened tooth enamel opening the door to dental decay.
Fluoride helps remineralize enamel helping to prevent cavity formation and might even reverse early signs of decay. So that would mean that fluoride treatments, usually prescribed for children, could be beneficial for people of all ages.
Are There Any Other Advantages to Fluoride Treatments?
There are other situations where your dentist might recommend fluoride treatments:
As we age, enamel may be worn away for many reasons; thin enamel may get a boost from additional fluoride.
Patients who are cavity prone would be encouraged to take supplemental fluoride treatments.
A lack of saliva production can lead to decay; in addition to products that can help promote saliva, the added protection from fluoride treatments may help as well.
In addition to the fluoride we get in the foods and water we consume, there are products on the market intended to promote oral health … toothpastes and gels coupled with oral rinses may provide added protection. As always, check with your dental provider to see if these products are appropriate for you.
The best way to protect the health of your teeth is to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, dairy, proteins, and healthy grains. Avoid soda and sugary beverages. Brush and floss daily. Visit our team at DeSanti Family Dentistry every six months for cleaning and dental exam (and fluoride treatments, if recommended).