Fluoride has long been touted as essential for the health of children’s teeth. But did you know that fluoride is just as important and beneficial for adults? There are many reasons why you should ask your dentist about in-office and at-home fluoride treatments. But first, it helps to understand exactly what fluoride is.
What is Fluoride and Why Is It Important?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in some foods, and in nature. Some parts of the teeth are composed of minerals. Through everyday wear and tear, the tooth’s exterior layer of enamel goes through the processes of demineralization and mineralization. Demineralization occurs when acid from bacteria, plaque, and sugars eat away at the enamel. Mineralization happens when minerals such as fluoride and calcium are introduced to the tooth through. The demineralization process weakens teeth, while mineralization hardens teeth and makes them more resistant to bacteria.
Without mineralization, teeth become progressively less able to defend themselves against the daily onslaught of bacteria, sugar and plaque buildup. Fluoride can help to prevent the demineralization of teeth, and keep enamel strong. Fluoride can also actually help to reverse tooth decay and disrupt the tooth deterioration that can lead to permanent tooth loss.
What At-Home Fluoride Treatments are Available?
You can treat your teeth every day with fluoride, right from the comfort of your home. Fluoride is added to most oral hygiene products. You just have to read the label to make sure that fluoride is an ingredient. You can get fluoride in toothpaste, tooth gels, and mouthwash formulations. These are all things that are available over the counter. For stronger concentrations of fluoride that are available only with a prescription, you can take fluoride supplements, as well as concentrated versions of fluoride mouth rinses. Ask your dentist if you need to transition to a stronger, prescription strength fluoride product for home use.
What In-Office Fluoride Treatments are Available?
You can also receive professional fluoride treatments at your dentist’s office. Be sure to mention that you are interested in such treatments so that your appointment slot can be adjusted accordingly. In-office fluoride treatments include using either fluoride in the form of gel, foam, or a varnish. With the varnish form, the dentist simply paints the formulation onto the teeth manually. Foams are sprayed into a mouth guard, which you then wear for a suitable amount of time in the office. With the gel formulation, the dentist can either paint in on the teeth with a brush or put it in a mouth guard which would be worn just as with the foam form of fluoride.
The best thing about fluoride treatments is that all forms are non-invasive and not painful at all. In fact, if you’ve been experiencing pain due to sensitive teeth, you may find that you have much less tooth sensitivity after one or more fluoride treatments. Fluoride treatments are not costly, and they are often included in most dental insurance plans. For more information about getting fluoride treatments, and how fluoride can improve the health of your teeth, contact Banker Dental today.