20 May 2016 Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Fluoride Treatments
For decades, fluoride has been used in the United States to ensure good dental health and shining smiles. Fluoride is a vital component in maintaining strong teeth and dental fluoride is a concentrated form, applied by dental professionals.
Although most Americans know that fluoride plays a role in preventing tooth decay, you may have questions about fluoride treatments from your dentist.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral necessary for healthy teeth. As plaque and acid wears away your teeth, tiny holes appear in the tooth surface. Fluoride helps to protect your teeth from damage and can even reverse early tooth decay. Your body naturally contains fluoride, but just like any other mineral or vitamin, it is regularly depleted. This lost fluoride needs to be routinely replaced through brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and fluoride treatments from your dentist.
Aren’t Fluoride Treatments Just for Kids?
While fluoride is critical for children to develop healthy teeth, it’s important for adults as well. Whenever you eat or drink, you add to the acid and plaque on your teeth. Regular brushing, flossing and dental cleanings help prevent plaque buildup, but fluoride offers another layer of protection. Since you only get one set of teeth as an adult, it’s important to preserve them in every possible way.
The American Dental Association endorses professional fluoride application for adults, especially if you have:
- A large number of oral bacteria.
- Extensive dental hardware.
- A history of many cavities.
- Have not seen a dentist in a long time.
What is the Treatment Like?
Dental fluoride is very concentrated and is only available from your dentist or by prescription. You may remember an unpleasant taste from having treatments as a child. With modern dental technology, those days are in the past. Concentrated fluoride now comes from your dentist as a varnish, foam, rinse or gel. Some of these have flavoring available and are actually quite tasty.
The treatment process usually lasts less than 10 minutes. Sometimes you will need to refrain from eating or drinking for a half hour following the treatment.
Depending on your dental condition, treatments may need to be administered every three, six or 12 months. Your dentist will be able to tell you which interval is right for you.
Make the Right Call
The best place to get advice on fluoride for your specific situation is from a dental professional. Don’t risk advancing tooth decay and maintain healthy teeth by consulting with your dentist about your fluoride regimen options. Your smile can be your best asset, so be certain to protect it.