Are Fluoride Treatments Necessary For Adults?
Importance of Adult Fluoride Treatment at Dental Check Ups To Help Prevent Tooth Decay
Everyone knows to brush twice a day and floss in between meals in order to avoid tooth decay, but regular fluoride treatments are equally important. Not just for children, fluoride treatments will help keep your teeth strong, healthy, and ready to tackle the toughest of foods.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water and a variety of foods. Minerals are added and lost from your teeth’s enamel layer each day through natural demineralization and remineralization processes. With demineralization, minerals are lost when acids attack the enamel layer of a tooth. Remineralization, on the other hand, occurs when fluoride, calcium, and other minerals are added back to the enamel layer.
Unfortunately, foods and water often do not redeposit enough minerals for strong and healthy teeth. In fact, many adults can only receive enough fluoride by visiting their dentist for a dental cleaning and dental fluoride treatment.
Fluoride – The Role It Plays in Fighting Tooth Decay
Fluoride helps strengthen your teeth’s enamel and prevent decay by bolstering their ability to resist acid attacks from sugars in the mouth and bacteria from plaque. In addition to playing an important role in decay prevention, it’s also able to reverse early signs of decay in both children and adults who visit the family dentist regularly for cleaning and fluoride treatments.
Why Visit Dr. Schlosser, an Ephrata PA Dentist, for a Dental Flouride Treatment?
As mentioned above, fluoride is found naturally in water and foods. It is also found in fluoridated mouth rinses and toothpastes. However, the amount of fluoride found in these substances is often very minimal, requiring the need for regular fluoride treatments.
When you visit your dentist for a dental flouride treatment, he or she will apply a fluoride foam, gel, or varnish to the teeth. These fluoride treatments contain a significantly higher percentage of fluoride than toothpastes and mouth rinses, allowing them to strengthen the enamel and fortify the teeth.
When You Need a Fluoride Treatment
For the development of strong and healthy teeth, it’s critical for children under the age of 16 to receive regular fluoride treatments. However, adults can benefit greatly from fluoride as well, especially those suffering from the following conditions:
- Gum disease – Also called periodontitis, gum disease can expose the roots of your teeth to bacteria and increase the likelihood of decay.
- Dry mouth – Dry mouth is caused by certain medications, such as allergy and high blood pressure medications, as well as certain diseases, such as Sjögren’s Syndrome, which result in reduced saliva. This makes it difficult to wash away food particles and neutralize acids.
- Frequent cavities – if you have a history of cavities, additional fluoride treatments may help strengthen your teeth and reduce the likelihood of future cavities.
- Braces, crowns, and bridges – While these treatments can certainly help you enjoy a nicer smile, they can also put your teeth at an elevated risk of decay and require regular fluoride treatments.
Professional Dental Cleaning and Fluoride Treatment
If you or a family member suffer from any of the above and are at a higher risk of tooth decay, a professional fluoride treatment can help tremendously. The concentrated fluoride used in your family dentist office contains much more fluoride than the minimal amount found in the fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses found at your local pharmacy.
Professional fluoride treatments only take a few minutes to complete, so there’s no reason not to have it done. In most cases, the fluoride foam, gel, or varnish is applied directly to your teeth with a brush or cotton swab. In other cases, it may be given in the form of a rinse, which must be held in your mouth for approximately five minutes. Regardless of which application is used, the process is non-invasive, completely harmless, and can be done in no time at all.
After receiving the treatment, you will be asked not to eat, drink, or rinse your mouth for at least 30 minutes. During this time, the fluoride will absorb into the teeth and begin the process of repairing microscopic areas of decay.
Depending on the status of your oral health, you may need to come in for a treatment every few months or once a year. If you’re at a moderate or high risk of developing gum disease and decay, additional preventive measures, such as prescription or over-the-counter fluoride gels or mouth rinses, may be recommended.
Not sure if you need a fluoride treatment? Schedule an appointment with our office to see if additional fluoride will benefit your teeth. However, don’t wait. The sooner you begin fortifying your teeth, the sooner you can keep tooth decay at bay!