Fluoride treatments are often thought of as treatments for children, used to strengthen their teeth. While it is important that young children get enough fluoride, it’s also good for adult teeth. Research even shows that fluoride aids in fighting tooth decay, as opposed to just providing extra strength to teeth. At Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry, we encourage our patients to receive fluoride treatments as part of their routine care in order to preserve their smile.
Fluoride occurs naturally and is found in food and water. In fact, many public water sources have fluoridated water. In addition to preventing tooth decay and cavities, it can also help in the remineralization of tooth enamel. When fluoride is deposited on the surface of teeth, it helps make them resistant to acids created by plaque and sugars. Over time, though, the fluoride will wear away, which is why we encourage patients to receive regular fluoride treatments.
When you get a fluoride treatment in our office, we apply it to the teeth in the form of varnish, gel, or foam. With the gel and foam, we have you wear a mouthguard filled with the substance for a couple of minutes. The varnish is painted directly onto the teeth.
Most people can benefit from a fluoride treatment. If you have a moderate to high risk of tooth decay or cavities, we may recommend a fluoride treatment as part of your regular dental plan. People with restorative work, gum disease, tooth sensitivity, and other conditions should also consider regular fluoride treatments.
Fluoride deficiency can occur if you don’t get enough fluoride. It can increase your risk of cavities and weak bones. Fluoride overdose is extremely rare, but it can occur. Symptoms include abdominal pain, headaches, and general weakness. If you think you’re experiencing a fluoride overdose, you should call poison control immediately.
Many toothpastes and mouthwashes contain fluoride, making them good at-home treatments for in between your regular dental visits. They shouldn’t replace the professional-strength treatments you receive during your dentist appointments, though.