Dental decay or caries are a common detriment to oral health, caused by bacteria that attack the tooth surface. One of the most commonly used elements to fight tooth decay is fluoride, a mineral that is added to toothpaste, water supplies, and mouthwashes to help reduce cavities. There are also fluoride treatments available in dental offices to offer a higher level of protection against decay. While you may know fluoride is helpful for fighting decay, do you know how this mineral works?
Fluoride is a mineral, not a drug or medication. It is found in almost any source of water, but it is usually only in small amounts. It is also found in some foods like other minerals, but once again, in very small quantities. These levels are not high enough to offer dental benefits, which is why fluoride is added to so many dental products and water supplies, and why fluoride treatments are available at many dental offices.
Fluoride Treatments and Dental Decay
Fluoride, along with other minerals, helps strengthen the enamel on your teeth. Decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria; when they feed on food particles, acid is produced that deteriorates the enamel. Adding fluoride, both through exterior application and through ingesting it in food and water, helps strengthen tooth enamel to fight decay.
While fluoride in mouthwashes, water, and toothpaste add some protection, for those susceptible to tooth decay, fluoride treatments can be a more effective option. Children are often more prone to cavities and the decay can be detrimental to their oral health. Genetics, poor oral hygiene, and certain health issues can also play a part in a higher susceptibility to decay. Fluoride treatments give these individuals better protection through stronger enamel, protecting their teeth from cavities.
Fluoride treatments are a quick and painless way to add significant fluoride directly to the teeth. A gel with concentrated fluoride is applied and allowed to sit on teeth for several minutes, penetrating the enamel. Treatments can be done during regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can recommend the right frequency for you or your child, usually 2-4 times per year.
At Mission Bend Family Dentistry, we promote healthy smiles with preventive options at our clinic in Richmond, including fluoride treatments for our patients with a higher risk for caries. Ask about adding fluoride treatments to your preventive care plan to protect you and your family’s smiles against decay, for healthier teeth, and reduce dental decay.