We’ve been asked by multiple patients about what is fluoride and how it benefits us when it comes to our oral health. At Sloan Creek Dental, our pediatric dentist near Allen and Fairview will help your child keep their smile healthy with fluoride treatment, regular cleaning, and other preventive care. Here are some of the commonly asked questions and answers about fluoride in Fairview, TX.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that can be found in drinking water, toothpaste, and many other foods. Fluoride is commonly used in toothpaste and or mouthwash, and it prevents cavities in children and adults by strengthening tooth enamel, and sensitivity relief. Fluoride comes in 2 forms: systemic and topical. Systemic fluoride is ingested every time you drink water. Topical fluoride is applied directly to teeth through fluoridated toothpaste, mouthwash, and in office fluoride treatment.
Fluoride treatments are used to improve the strength of teeth and reduce the risk of cavities. They often contain a high concentration of fluoride that a dentist or hygienist will apply to a person’s teeth to strengthen teeth. These in office fluoride treatments comes in the form of a gel, foam, or varnish.
Treatment is typically done after a cleaning, and when the fluoride varnish is applied, it acts as a protective coating that is applied directly on the surface of your teeth. The level of fluoride we use is significantly higher than it is in toothpaste and is used as part of your preventive measures to keep your teeth strong and healthy because it prevents cavities by strengthening the tooth enamel.
It is recommended that you avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after your fluoridation visit. After the 30-minute period has elapsed, you can eat soft foods and drink beverages normally. It is recommended you abstain from eating hard foods and brushing your teeth. activities for at least four hours after your treatment to allow the most effective penetration of fluoride in the tooth enamel.
When administered by an experienced dentist, fluoride is safe for children and adults based on your specific needs. For patients who suffer from conditions such as dry mouth, patients who have had a cavity in the last year, or patients who are at a higher risk of cavities, a fluoride gel or varnish is generally recommended. If you have cavities, your Fairview dentist can give you a professional fluoride treatment during your routine cleaning or checkup.
For patients that had extensive dental restorations, getting a fluoride varnish during your regular cleaning and exam is an excellent way to help keep the tooth structure around your restoration strong and decay-resistant.
The ability of fluoride to help our teeth has many benefits, but the main benefit is cavity prevention.
Strengthens teeth to prevent cavities – When brushing with fluoride toothpaste, it can help prevent demineralization, tooth decay, and cavities.
Repairs minor tooth decay – Tooth decay often begins with a “soft spot” on a tooth. This small, weakened area can be repaired with fluoride treatment. When you visit your Fairview dentist, Dr. Feng can apply a fluoride gel directly to the teeth that needs it, which will then encourage remineralization.
Kills bacteria which cause cavities & gum disease – Fluoride has always been a great way to help prevent cavities and keep your smiles in tip-top shape. But did you know it can also be used as an antimicrobial? This means that fluoride kills the bacteria that contributes to issues like cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath.
Our teeth are in a constant battle between demineralization and remineralization due to the foods we eat. Your teeth are made up of enamel, a strong substance that is composed mostly of materials such as hydroxyapatite, a type of calcium-based mineral.
While teeth have up to three times the strength of bone, they can be weakened by mineral loss through a process called demineralization. Mineral loss or demineralization happens when the bacteria feeds off of the food (sugar) we eat, and excrete acid that attacks the enamel. Resulting it being more susceptible to tooth decay. Remineralization happens when we consume foods and water that have minerals such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate. If demineralization outpaces mineralization and is left untreated, tooth decay increases resulting a hole that will get larger and may result in a tooth infection unless it’s treated with a filling. when the acids in bacteria plaque and sugars begin to attack the enamel.
Along with proper oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing, this is where fluoride comes in to prevent tooth decay and cavities. Fluoride isn’t just for preventing cavities. It can also help reverse demineralization to restore minerals like calcium and phosphate back to the teeth. This fortifies the teeth and helps with overall health.
Fluoride treatments are a necessary part of your dental care routine and should be performed regularly. Although not expensive by themselves, they are only part of the treatment plan for most preventative dentistry. There´s an old saying that goes; “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. These treatments can save you hundreds of dollars each year in dental costs, by preventing tooth decay and maintaining optimum hygiene.
Some dental insurance plans cover adult fluoride treatments, while others do not. If your plan does not cover this procedure, you may still consider paying out of pocket for this simple treatment that could not only keep your teeth healthy, lower your risk of tooth decay, but could also save you serious financial problems in the future.
If you are struggling with cavities or sensitive teeth, you may notice a great difference when your Fairview dentist applies fluoride treatment to your teeth. If you have more questions about the benefits of professional fluoride treatments, please contact our office (972) 468-1440 in Fairview, TX, and we’ll be happy to assist you.