Fluoride TreatmentsYou’ve probably heard of fluoride before, right? It is a natural mineral (the 13th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust) found in rocks, soil, water, and many foods and drinks that builds strong teeth and helps prevent cavities. It’s most plentiful at ground levels, so common in fact that there are places on Earth with too much fluoride in drinking water while others have none.
Every day, the outer protective layer of enamel on our teeth adds and loses minerals through two processes: Demineralization and Remineralization. Minerals are lost from the enamel (demineralization) when acids from plaque bacteria and sugars in your mouth attack the teeth. When food and water are consumed, and minerals like fluoride, phosphate, and calcium are redeposited to the enamel, we call that remineralization. Too much demineralization, however, without enough remineralization to repair the enamel, is what leads to tooth decay.
Fighting the varied bacteria harmful to our teeth and gums, fluoride can also repair teeth and their enamel on a microscopic level. It can even stop tooth decay and diseases in their early stages. Having been a crucial oral health treatment for decades, our team at Mark A. Coussens, DMD Family & Cosmetic Dentistry always recommend brushing with a fluoride-containing toothpaste for the best chance at preserving that healthy, beautiful smile. To learn more about fluoride treatments and schedule a visit to discuss getting one, call (503) 567-4121.
In What Forms Can I Find Fluoride?
In addition to several foods, drinks, water, and toothpaste, fluoride can be applied via mouth rinses containing it. Mouthwashes with lower levels of it are available over-the-counter at most stores while those with higher concentrations of strength require a doctor’s prescription.
How Much Fluoride Do I Need?
Depending on your oral health, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a professional fluoride treatment every three, six, or twelve months. If you are at high risk of cavities and practicing poor dental habits though, Dr. Coussens may also prescribe special fluoride mouth rinse or gel to use regularly at home.
When Is It Most Important to Get Fluoride?
Children are typically exposed to fluoride between the ages of 6 months to 16 years old, during the period in which the permanent teeth erupt to replace the baby teeth. However, fighting tooth decay is a lifetime commitment, and fluoride can benefit adults too.
You may also like the options available in our office. Dr. Coussens can apply fluoride to you or your child’s teeth as a gel, foam, or varnish (These contain higher amounts of fluoride than toothpaste or mouthwashes). A varnish is something painted onto your teeth, while foam guards are placed in the mouth and gels can be applied via either method. Fluoride supplements in liquid or tablet form can be provided too, but these will also need a prescription. It’s important that we have your full health history, to determine the best method for you.
If you believe it’s time for you or your child to come in and discuss setting up a professional fluoride treatment, don’t forget to call us and discuss your options today at (503) 567-4121.