Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally present in water and several types of food. Our teeth go through the processes of demineralization and remineralization every day that affects the tooth enamel. The enamel layer of your teeth goes through demineralization when the acids attack the enamel through plaque build-up. Minerals like fluoride, phosphate, and calcium get redeposited to the enamel layer - this is called remineralization.
If demineralization happens faster than remineralization, then the eroded enamel layer may lead to tooth decay. Fluoride prevents tooth decay from happening by making your teeth more resistant to the acids present in your mouth.
Types of Fluoride
Fluoride can be found in foods and water, but it can also be directly applied to the mouth using fluoride-based toothpaste and mouthwash. Lower concentration fluoride products are available over-the-counter, or you can get a high-intensity fluoride product based on your dentist's prescription.
Fluoride treatments done by an orthodontist contain a higher level of concentration and are applied to the teeth in the form of gel, varnish, or foam.
Fluoride Treatments Done By a Dentist
Fluoride treatments are stronger than the fluoride found in toothpaste and mouthwash. Varnishes act as a substitute for tooth enamel and are painted over the teeth. Fluoride foam is applied to a mouthguard and placed inside the mouth for one to four minutes. This helps the fluoride stick and settle into the teeth and gums. Fluoride gels are painted onto the teeth or applied through a mouthguard and penetrate into the teeth and gums.
Our dentist or your family doctor can also prescribe fluoride supplements that come in the form of tablets and syrups.
Critical Stages for Fluoride Intake
Starting from the age of six months, children should be exposed to fluoride until they turn 16 years old. During this time, an individual's primary and permanent teeth are developing. Therefore, children must have a high fluoride intake while they are growing up. However, it is just as important for adults too. Research has shown that brushing and rinsing your mouth with fluoride-rich oral products can help fight tooth decay and strengthen teeth.
Additionally, people with certain medical conditions are at a higher risk of developing tooth decay. Thus, a fluoride treatment will benefit them in preventing further damage.
This includes people with
||Dry mouth conditions
|| Gum disease
|| History of recurring cavities
|| Crowns, bridges, or braces installed
Are there Any Risks Attached to Fluoride Treatment?
The simple answer is, no, there isn't, especially if done by our professional dentists. However, high doses can be hazardous for children, so it's important to supervise the use of fluoride-containing products and keep them out of reach for children under six years old.
Now that you have a general overview of what fluoride treatments are and the importance of consuming and applying this mineral, you can easily start incorporating it into your daily routine and prevent the risk of tooth decay. If you experience any discomfort or signs of cavities, call us at (971) 708-1608 and schedule your dental checkup with Jefferson Call, DMD and Thorn Simnitt, DMD.