Chances are that when you go to the dentist, they offer you fluoride treatments. However, many people don’t understand what fluoride does and how it benefits your smile.
Here is some background on fluoride and what it does for your oral health.
Fluoride Treatments: What They Do And How They Work
Fluoride is one of the minerals that makes our teeth strong. Our teeth are constantly losing and replacing the minerals, such as fluoride, phosphate and calcium, contained in the enamel layer.
Demineralization occurs when acids attack the teeth and leach those minerals, and remineralization happens when they are reincorporated into the teeth. Too much demineralization and too little remineralization can be problematic for your teeth, contributing to tooth decay.
The foods we eat provide a significant amount of our fluoride intake. Many municipalities put fluoride in their water system, and patients typically use fluoridated toothpastes for additional access to this valuable mineral.
These sources can be adequate for many people, but others will need supplemental fluoride. Your dentist can help by giving you a professional-grade treatment.
Fluoride treatments are painless. The patient wears a mouthguard filled with a fluoride-dense foam for several minutes and rinses with water at the end of the treatment. After the treatment, patients must avoid eating for a certain period of time.
Benefits Of Fluoride Treatments
Fluoride strengthens our teeth and makes them less susceptible to damage from the decay-causing acids created by oral bacteria.
In particular, fluoride can help patients who are susceptible to gum disease and cavities, as well as those who struggle with dry mouth, which can be associated with an increase in the presence of oral bacteria.
In children, these treatments offer the ability to incorporate fluoride into the developing permanent teeth. However, this treatment is also valuable for adults. The remineralization process becomes less efficient as we age, and supplemental fluoride can give it a boost.
Be cautious of excess fluoride exposure, especially in children with developing teeth. Too much fluoride can result in fluorosis, which causes discoloration of the tooth. Check in with your dentist to make sure that your child is getting just the right amount of fluoride.
If you have questions about fluoride and whether you might need supplemental fluoride, ask at your next appointment or call our team at DeSanti Family Dentistry.