Have you ever wondered what you could do besides good hygiene care to prevent decay? Fluoride is proven to strengthen and remineralize enamel and help reduce the likelihood of a cavity. Although fluoride intake is most critical for infants and children, adults can also benefit from fluoride too.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is absorbed by your body in two ways: systemically and topically. Systemic fluoride is important during tooth development in children and are typically found in prescription or OTC fluoride supplements and fluoridated water. Topical fluorides protect teeth from decay and are applied directly to the teeth via toothpaste, rinses, and treatments at dental offices.
Who would benefit from additional fluoride treatments?
Both children and adults can benefit from fluoride treatments. There are many conditions that put someone at increased risk for tooth decay and these individuals would benefit from additional fluoride treatments. People with dry mouth (also called xerostomia) caused by medications, diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, and head and neck radiation are more prone to tooth decay. The lack of saliva makes it harder for food particles to be washed away from teeth and for acids in foods to be neutralized.
Gum disease (also called periodontitis) can cause gingival or gum recession which can expose the roots of your teeth which are more susceptible to tooth decay.
Someone with a history o frequent cavities is considered high risk and would benefit from a stronger prevention plan which would include fluoride as well.
People with crowns, bridges, and braces would benefit from fluoride treatments because these restorations can trap food and put teeth at a higher risk for decay development.
Are there any risks associated with fluoride treatments?
Fluoride is safe and effective when used correctly and in the right dosage. Just like any other mineral, vitamin, or medication, it can be hazardous at high doses.
Excess fluoride can occasionally cause defects, white or brown spots on teeth as they are developing only. This is called fluorosis. It is not possible to remove fluorosis but we may be able to lighten or remove these stains with professional strength abrasives or bleaches.