Just as exercise is a natural way to strengthen the body and encourage healthy habits, fluoride treatments are used as a way to strengthen the teeth in effort to develop and maintain good dental health. Despite some debate, fluoride treatments are a safe and effective way of protecting the teeth without threatening or sacrificing diet habits and life choices.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that helps in preventing tooth decay. By choosing to have regular, routine fluoride treatments it helps strengthen the teeth in the fight against acid, bacteria and sugars that form in the mouth. Fluoride occurs naturally in several of the foods and water sources that we have access to on a daily basis, but sometimes a boost in the amount is necessary to strengthen the teeth.
How are Fluoride Treatments Applied?
Fluoride comes in various forms including toothpastes and mouth rinses. Most mouth rinses offered in-store or over the counter contain low amounts of fluoride, but there are stronger concentrations available that require a prescription. In a dentist office, fluoride treatments are applied using a gel, foam or varnish.
The most common method used is a varnish where the fluoride is painted directly onto the tooth’s surface. While the varnish contains a higher level of fluoride, the application itself is a thin layer over the tooth that provides protection without risking safety. Fluoride foam treatments are used with a mouth guard that rests against the teeth for a few minutes. Fluoride gels can be administered by either painting the teeth or by using a mouth guard.
What Age are Fluoride Treatments Most Effective?
While adults should explore using fluoride in their toothpastes and mouth rinses in addition to regular fluoride treatments, it’s mostly to prevent or fight tooth decay. Perhaps the most important timeframe to develop and adhere to a fluoride treatment schedule is between 6 months and 16 years. During this age range, fluoride can not only prevent or fight tooth decay, but also strengthen teeth as they develop. This timeframe is when children lose their primary teeth and their permanent teeth start to grow in. The use of fluoride treatments help establish a strong foundation during the transition.
Are the Treatments Safe?
Excess fluoride can discolor the teeth and may even become toxic, inducing vomiting or nausea among other side effects. However, when administered by an experienced dentist the chances are slim to none and fluoride treatments are completely safe and harmless.
If you’re in the Richmond, TX area reach out to Mission Bend Family Dentistry for all of your fluoride treatment needs.