Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that helps protect the enamel of teeth against the acidic excretions of bacteria that live on teeth. As acids form on the teeth, they eat away at fluoride and other important minerals. Those minerals must be replaced with fluoride treatments to prevent damage to the enamel.
Sources of Fluoride
Fluoride is sometimes found in certain foods and may be present in some water supplies. It can also be applied directly to the teeth by using fluoridated products like toothpastes, gels, and mouth rinses. While fluoride occurs naturally in the foods and water we take in, it’s role in helping to prevent tooth decay is a critical one, and your dentist may recommend additional fluoride treatments to ensure enamel health.
Who Needs Fluoride Treatments?
Children between six months and sixteen years of age are most vulnerable to demineralization, or a loss of that critical fluoride layer, but adults are also vulnerable to demineralization and may require treatment to restore lost fluoride. In addition, certain conditions may require fluoride treatments to maintain dental health, including but not limited to:
- Dry mouth- this may be caused by medical conditions, medications, or treatments like radiation therapy for cancer.
- Gum disease- A receding gum line may leave more of the tooth and roots, increasing the probability of decay.
- A history of frequent cavities- if a patient already has a history of cavities, your dentist may determine that fluoride treatments could offer better protection to the enamel, helping to protect the teeth.
- Having crowns, bridges, or braces- The presence of appliances in the mouth may create more nooks and crannies for bacteria to thrive. Fluoride treatments help prevent damage to the enamel and promotes better protection against decay.
Talk to Your Dentist Today
Whether you live in a community that adds fluoride to the drinking water, or get your fluoride through dental treatments and products, it’s important to talk to your dentist about the best way for you to get the optimum benefit from fluoride. Call for your appointment today, to explore the options for keeping your teeth healthy for a lifetime.