Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has been proven to prevent cavities. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, making it more resistant to the acid produced by plaque and sugars. Fluoride penetrates the outer layer of your teeth and creates a fluoridated layer that keeps out plaque, bacteria, and acids.
How does fluoride prevent tooth decay?
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water and many foods. Fluoride fortifies tooth enamel, making it more resistant to acid attacks. Fluoride also promotes the remineralization of tooth enamel, reversing early signs of tooth decay.
Types of fluoride treatments
Fluoride supplements are recommended for children, adolescents, and women of childbearing age. The most common fluoride treatments types include the following:
- Topical fluoride treatments:Fluoride varnishes and gels: Fluoride varnishes and gels come in the form of a paste and are applied directly to the surface of the teeth. They last for approximately 24 hours, so patients must avoid eating, drinking, and smoking during that time. Patients must also avoid brushing their teeth for at least 12 hours after application. Flossing should also be avoided. Typically, topical fluoride treatments are recommended for children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years.
- Fluoride toothpaste: Most types of toothpaste contain fluoride. Fluoridated toothpaste can help fight cavities because fluoride strengthens tooth enamel. This keeps enamel strong, preventing decay.
- Fluoride mouthwashes: Fluoride mouthwashes contain low levels of fluoride. They are intended to supplement your in-office fluoride treatments. Fluoride mouthwashes can be used to fight bad breath and reduce plaque buildup when used as a daily supplement to your oral hygiene routine.
- Fluoride supplements: Water is fluoridated in most communities, but even if you drink fluoridated water, you may benefit from taking supplements. Fluoride supplements help strengthen tooth enamel, which can decrease your risk of developing tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis.
- Fluoride in drinking water:Most public drinking water is treated with fluoride. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from decay and cavities. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay. This can help prevent cavities from forming.
Is fluoride safe?
Yes. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. It’s incorporated into saliva and hardens into tooth enamel, which helps protect teeth from decay. Fluoride can even reverse early tooth decay.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Dental Association (ADA), and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) all consider fluoride safe.
Who can benefit from fluoride treatments?
We typically recommend that children receive this treatment twice a year during dental check-ups. Patients of all ages can benefit from receiving a fluoride treatment, though we may recommend more frequent applications for those who are more prone to cavities.
To learn more about the benefits of fluoride treatments, visit Down to Earth Dental at 1407 W 29th St, Pueblo, CO 81008, or call us at (719) 546-0404 to schedule an appointment.