A fluoride treatment is the most effective procedure available to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is a naturally present mineral found in varying amounts in nearly all our food and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been known for over 50 years and are emphatically supported by many health and professional organizations.
Fluoride works in two ways:
A topical fluoride treatment strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by soaking into the outer surface of the tooth enamel and restoring resistance of the teeth to decay. Topical fluoride in typically applied by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and oral gels. Experienced dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during their routine dental check-ups.
A systemic fluoride treatment is used for strengthening teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. Systemic fluoride is also absorbed from most foods and our community water supplies. However, Systemic fluoride is also available as a supplement in either drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or primary physician. Typically, fluoride drops are recommended for infants and toddlers, while tablets are used for older children up through the teen years. Keep in mind, it is very important to carefully monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing they can develop a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth).
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it may not be enough to help prevent tooth decay. Your Alcan Family Dental dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home or professional fluoride treatments due to one of the following issues:
- Pits & Fissures on Chewing Surfaces
- Exposed & Sensitive Roots
- Fair to Poor Oral Hygiene Habits
- Frequent Sugar & Carb Intake
- Inadequate Fluoride Exposure
- Inadequate Saliva Production (Due to Medical Conditions, Treatments, or Medications)
- Recent History of Oral Decay
Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.
Fluoride is Important for Having Healthy Teeth
As mentioned perviously, fluoride is a mineral that is fortified to improve health. Similar to how iodine is added to salt, fluoride is added to water supplies to improve overall health. However, there is common misconception that Fluoride is a type of medication; however, U.S. courts have rejected this argument. Fluoride is used to protect against demineralization of the teeth and support over all oral health. Demineralization happens when acids, mainly from food and beverages, attack the tooth enamel. Our mouths are also full of harmful bacteria that create acids in whenever sugary foods are consumed which is why children tend to be at a higher risk of demineralization issues.
Is Fluoride Dangerous?
No, fluoride is not dangerous. It is one of the 108 natural elements and can be found in drinking water. Fluoride is utilized in drinking water to help strengthen the teeth and enhance overall health. However, the amount fluoride found in drinking water is often not enough to protect children from tooth decay. This is especially true when children are not drinking the recommended amount of water each day. To help supplement the lack of Fluoride, treatments help strength and preserve the health of children’s teeth. Long standing evidence shows that in most cities, families save $38 in dental treatment costs saved for every $1 invested in fluoridation efforts.
For more information about fluoride treatments and how they could benefit you or your child, contact us at Alcan Family Dental to schedule an appointment. We can help evaluate and improve your child’s oral and dental health by adjusting their diet to contain fewer foods that are high in sugar content. You can also reinforce their oral hygiene by making sure they are brushing and flossing at least twice daily. Fluoride treatments will help prevent tooth decay, but good oral hygiene care is still the most important part of keeping a healthy mouth.
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