Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Fluoride treatment can help prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel. It can reverse early tooth decay. It can also help protect against tooth sensitivity and cavities. Here is what you may need to know about the benefits of fluoride.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water supplies. Fluoride is a natural mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and reduces cavity risk. However, this natural level of fluoride is not enough to prevent tooth decay on its own. Many children are at a higher risk of developing cavities due to the number of sugary foods and drinks they consume. Over time, the high sugar content of the diet causes an acidic environment in the mouth, which is destructive to the health of teeth and gums. Low levels of fluoride in saliva also cannot protect tooth enamel on its own. Hence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend children between the ages of six months to age eight get a fluoride varnish application every six months at their pediatric dentist’s office. Children who regularly consume tap water that is treated with fluoride or who don’t get enough fluoride in their diet should also have regular fluoride treatments as well. These treatments are safe and effective in preventing tooth decay and cavities and can be incorporated easily into a child’s regular schedule.
Fluoride works by strengthening the minerals that makeup tooth enamel. The tooth enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth. It is the hardest substance in the body and provides a protective barrier for the sensitive inner layers of the teeth. As such, it is important to keep tooth enamel healthy to prevent cavities and other oral issues. When tooth enamel is weakened by plaque buildup, acids, or lack of minerals, children are at increased risk of developing cavities. Applying fluoride regularly can help prevent this and even reverse early demineralization. Fluoride can also be applied to patients who are already struggling with decay or other oral health problems to help reverse it. In addition, applying fluoride can help stop the development of gingivitis and gum disease.
In short, the benefits of fluoride for children and teens include:
Topical fluoride gel treatments are applied to the teeth by your dentist at routine visits. The treatment is absorbed into the teeth and begins to work its magic almost immediately. It strengthens the enamel through a series of reactions that take place as the tooth absorbs the fluoride. Naturally resilient minerals begin to form in the outer layer of the teeth, making them hardier and less susceptible to damage in the future.
Fluoride varnishes and foams are applied by a dentist during regular cleanings or checkups. These solutions contain a higher concentration of fluoride than gels and rinses, so they essentially “paint” the teeth with a stronger shield of protection. Professional strength fluoride rinses and toothpaste are also available for home use. These types of products are often prescribed by dentists after a professional application of fluoride to further enhance the protective benefits. Systemic fluoride, on the other hand, is delivered through the water supply, where it works to strengthen tooth enamel from the inside out.
Call your pediatric dentist for more information about fluoride treatments and other ways to protect your child’s smile. If it has been six months since you or your children visited the dentist, schedule an appointment with us today. Visit us at 3895 W 7800 S #203, West Jordan, UT 84088. Contact us at (801) 282-6901 or visit our website to book an appointment with us.