Strong, healthy teeth are the result of good oral hygiene and fluoride treatments. Fluoride is a natural mineral that prevents cavities and builds strong teeth. It also supports healthy tooth enamel and fights the bacteria that harm teeth and gums. It is important to care for your teeth by brushing and flossing twice a day, and routine dental visits twice a year for a thorough cleaning and check-up.
Fluoride is especially helpful if you’re at risk of developing cavities. Cavities occur when bacteria build up on the teeth and gums and form plaque. If the plaque breaks down the enamel layer, bacteria can infect the nerves of the tooth.
The following can increase your risk of cavities:
• excessive drug or alcohol use
• eating disorder
• poor oral hygiene
• lack of dental care
• poor diet
• dry mouth, or decreased saliva
• weak enamel
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral and can be found in some foods and water. Fluoride and other minerals (calcium and phosphate) are redeposited to the enamel layer from the foods and water we consume. It is important because it helps prevent tooth decay. It makes the teeth more resistant to acids and can reverse early tooth decay. Fluoride is especially important for toddlers who are developing their permanent teeth, making it tougher for acids to ruin the enamel.
Common dietary sources of fluoride include:
• food cooked in water
• fish eaten with their bones
• infant formula
Although fluoride can be found in some toothpaste and mouthwash, stronger and more effective concentrations require a dentist’s prescription. Your dentist can apply it directly to your teeth during an office visit.
Benefits for Children and Adults?
Fluoride benefits both children and adults. It is very important for children up to 16 years to receive fluoride treatments as their permanent teeth come in. The earlier children are exposed to fluoride, the less likely they are to develop cavities. A large study found that children who received fluoride treatments for one year were 43 percent less likely to have tooth decay and cavities.
Adults need fluoride too, especially those at increased risk of tooth decay. It cannot remove decay but, it can help stop the decay from penetrating into deeper parts of teeth. Some medications, dry mouth, gum disease, and frequent cavities may require patients to have additional fluoride applications.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a professional fluoride treatment at your dentist’s office every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on your oral health. If you’re at high risk for cavities, your dentist may also prescribe a special fluoride rinse or gel to use regularly at home.
To make an appointment with Webster Dental, call 630.663.0554. We are located in the heart of downtown Downers Grove at 1121 Warren Avenue, Suite 130.