Dental fluoride treatment | Why is it important?

dental fluoride treatments

Have you ever wondered why your dentist recommends dental fluoride treatments with each dental cleaning? Maybe you have never considered this treatment as necessary.

Today, we will discuss what fluoride is, it’s benefits, and why it is highly recommended for both children and adults.

While some people seem to be immune from cavities, most dentists recommend to their patients to include fluoride in their daily health regimens. It is found in many forms and provides numerous benefits to your dental health.

What is a dental fluoride treatment?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in several foods and water. When consumed or applied, it strengthens teeth and prevents the growth of oral bacteria that can attack your teeth and gums.

Ways We Get Fluoride

Because of its many benefits, fluoride is commonly added to the tap water of public water supplies. And even though it occurs naturally in several foods, it is also added to many processed foods and drinks. Moreover, fluoridated water is also available for purchase.

We also benefit when it is added to a variety of dental products. For instance, when you brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste, especially those that also contain calcium phosphate, you are strengthening your teeth and taking measures to reduce the risk of dental decay. Several mouthwashes also include it for added protection. 

What are the benefits of fluoride?

When added to your oral care regimen, fluoride strengthens your tooth enamel. It is especially beneficial for children who are at risk of tooth decay. Young patients are often given topical dental fluoride treatments to help foster a healthy environment for tooth development and guard against decay and cavities.  

Tooth enamel is probably not something you think about often, but it is essential to protect it. Once tooth enamel is lost or eroded, you cannot replace it. Unlike other parts of your teeth, tooth enamel is not living tissue, and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

When is fluoride most important?

Age doesn’t matter when it comes to protecting your teeth. Both children and adults should have plenty of exposure to keep their teeth healthy. It is, however, especially important for children to help their teeth become strong and to prevent tooth decay. 

In fact, young children with baby teeth benefit from topical application and ingestion of fluoride, as this helps strengthen their developing permanent teeth.  

But adults also benefit from topical fluoride applications, which help prevent cavities and future tooth decay that can lead to other dental issues. It can also reverse early signs of tooth decay and keep your teeth strong and healthy throughout adulthood.

What types of applications do dentists provide?

Dentists can provide dental fluoride treatments in the form of gel foam or varnish. These topical treatments offer a stronger concentration than what you can get over the counter, so you can receive the maximum benefits from the treatment.

Fluoride supplements are also another option. These treatments not only help prevent decay, but they can stop decay from worsening while restoring enamel strength. 

Your dentist can also prescribe treatments such as mouth rinses to be used at home. There are many different types of treatments, and your dentist can suggest a treatment based on your needs.

What happens during a dental fluoride treatment?

The treatment performed in your dentist’s office is a simple procedure. 

Typically, a type of fluoride varnish is brushed or painted onto the surface of your teeth.  The entire treatment is quick and painless and takes very little time.

Upon completion, your dentist may suggest that you wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything to allow the varnish to dry and adhere to the teeth. 

Depending on the condition of your teeth, you may need more than one treatment. Your dentist will go over your recommended treatment plan during your initial examination. 

Is there such a thing as too much fluoride?

While supplements provide many benefits to our teeth, an excessive amount can have negative effects. Too much fluoride, which many dentists refer to as dental fluorosis, can cause severe staining of tooth enamel.

Other problems that can occur with especially high doses include cognitive problems, ADHD, acne, and thyroid dysfunction. Always follow your dentist’s advice and contact them for any concerns.

Fluoride free toothpaste is available for children that are not yet old enough to rinse properly after brushing. When teaching a child to use a toothpaste with fluoride, it is important that you supervise your child to ensure they do not swallow the toothpaste. 

How do I know if I need extra?

The only way to determine if you need additional fluoride is from a thorough dental examination. Your dentist can perform a thorough dental examination to assess whether or not you could benefit from dental fluoride treatments.

In addition to a dental examination, the best protection against tooth decay and cavities is a regular oral hygiene regimen and routine dental cleanings. Doing your part to prevent cavities is key to preventing further issues down the road.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should undergo dental examinations at least twice a year. Early diagnosis and correction of dental issues can prevent more extensive and expensive treatments in the future.

How can I find out more about dental fluoride treatments?

Do you have questions or wonder if you should receive fluoride treatments?

Dr. James Fondriest is a highly recognized dentist who serves patients in North Shore and the surrounding Chicago communities. He also offers numerous cosmetic dentistry services, such as teeth whitening, crowns, and veneers. One of his friendly team members would love the opportunity to answer your questions.

Call (847) 234-0517 today to find out more or schedule your appointment.