Posted on April 17, 2020
Maintaining excellent oral health requires a combined approach that includes healthy eating, flossing, brushing, and regular dental visits. But what about fluoride treatments? As a child, fluoride treatments are typically completed during each dental visit, but once you reach adulthood, they’re often omitted. Here’s what you should know about fluoride treatments and whether they’re right for you.
The Purpose of a Fluoride Treatment
Demineralization occurs when the acids produced from breaking down sugar and carbs create damage in tooth enamel. Teeth are then left vulnerable to cavity-causing bacteria.
Fluoride helps counteract this harmful process by rebuilding (remineralizing) weakened tooth enamel, preventing cavities and promoting overall oral health. Fluoride treatments can also reverse early signs of tooth decay.
Children and Fluoride Treatments
As part of their regular dental treatment, children usually receive fluoride treatments until around age 14.
These treatments take only a few minutes and are pain-free. High concentration fluoride treatments in the form of a solution, gel, foam or varnish are carefully applied to teeth and then left to sit for a few minutes. Following a fluoride treatment, no eating or drinking should occur for 30 minutes so that proper fluoride absorption and repairs can occur.
Adults and Fluoride Treatments
Some adults may benefit from professional fluoride treatments, too.
As we age, certain dental conditions such as gum disease or tooth and root decay become more likely to happen. Fluoride treatments can help to build strength in teeth and prevent costly, invasive dental procedures in the future.
If an adult is prone to getting cavities, has dry mouth caused by medications or disease or has a gum recession that exposes vulnerable tooth roots, their dentist may prescribe them with a fluoride mouth rinse. Compared to over the counter products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses and, supplements, these professional rinses usually contain a higher concentration of fluoride.
Potential Side Effects from Fluoride
Although fluoride is a naturally occurring compound, it has the potential to cause side effects – under certain circumstances.
When consumed in large doses (such as swallowing large amounts of toothpaste), fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, which appears as white discolouration on teeth. Other than these white spots, dental fluorosis does not create any other symptoms or harm.
Since dental fluorosis typically only affects children under the age of eight, providing adult supervision during teeth brushing can help prevent children from getting this condition.
Skeletal fluorosis is another potential side effect of fluoride. As skeletal fluorosis involves bones instead of teeth, early symptoms include joint pain and stiffness. This ailment is usually a result of long-term exposure to high levels of fluoride in drinking water.
Keep in mind that your dentist is a professional when it comes to prescribing fluoride treatments. Your oral health is their biggest concern, so special care will be taken to avoid any potential side effects when prescribing these treatments.
Ask Your Dentist About Fluoride Treatments Today
Looking for more information on fluoride treatment or ready to book your next dental treatment? Contact us today for more information!
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