Fluoride is a naturally occurring element in your teeth. This mineral is essential for protecting the enamel from the effects of acids, from both plaque and oral bacteria as well as those from foods and drinks. Fluoride is leached from the teeth daily. It can also be replaced every day. Fluoride is often replaced through treated tap water, fluoridated oral care products, and can even be found in trace amounts in certain foods. For many people, this is enough fluoride to keep the teeth healthy. Others, however, do not. Without sufficient fluoride, your teeth become susceptible to tooth decay and the formation of cavities. At NorthView Family Dental, we can help with fluoride treatments.
How Important is Fluoride?Every day, plaque and bacteria collect in your mouth. They both occur naturally, but they are both harmful to your teeth. Plaque is naturally acidic in nature and collects on the teeth. Bacteria produce acids when they eat the lingering sugars in your mouth that get caught in the sticky plaque. The acids then sit on your teeth. If they are not routinely cleaned away, the acids begin to eat away at your enamel, causing small pits, called cavities, to form. Fluoride works to remineralize your teeth, strengthening your enamel, which then makes the teeth more resistant to decay. It can even reverse the earliest stages of decay in your teeth.
Water FluoridationOne of the easiest ways to replace fluoride is through tap water. Research shows that water fluoridation is the most cost-effective and equitable way of preventing cavities and tooth decay in people of all ages. Studies show that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by 30% among children ages 4 to 17.
For more information on fluoridated water, visit: Washington Water Fluoridation or The American Dental Association
Am I at Risk for Tooth Decay?There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing tooth decay and cavities.
Getting Your Fluoride TreatmentGetting a professional fluoride treatment is quick and painless. It can be completed in under 30 minutes. We simply apply a fluoride gel onto the surfaces of your teeth after they have been cleaned. Treatments are frequently done following your biannual dental cleanings and exams, but it is possible to have them done at any time. Once the fluoride gel has been applied to the teeth, that is it. You do not need to rinse, spit, or remove the gel at all. The fluoride absorbs directly into the enamel of the teeth and goes to work almost immediately. We do recommend that you abstain from eating or drinking anything for at least 30 minutes following your procedure, which ensures that enough fluoride is absorbed.
I Thought Fluoride was for KidsMany patients think that fluoride treatments are just for kids. Kids are more prone to cavities than adults. Fluoride can be very beneficial for protecting their teeth and aiding in the development of their adult teeth. However, kids are not the only ones who benefit. Fluoride is just as effective for adults as it is for kids.
Fluoride aids in the remineralization of your teeth, and works to protect your enamel from the harmful acid attacks of plaque and bacteria. Call NorthView Family Dental today to find out if fluoride treatments are right for you at (509) 590-1763.