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Dental Benefits of Fluoride

Research shows that anyone, of any age, can benefit from fluoride. If you have teeth and you want to keep them strong, fluoride is for you. Here at our family dentist Indianapolis, we provide the best possible fluoride treatment care.It was once believed that fluoride was for those whose teeth were still developing, children being the main focus in fluoride use. Studies now prove that topical fluoride—the kind in toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments—help fight decay in people of any age. Fluoride is like calcium in that it makes the teeth strong. Fluoride, however, has an extra electron, and therefore is more willing to bond to tooth structure in the place of calcium. A fluoride treatment can make these areas stronger and more resistant to decay. It can also, fantastically, reverse early tooth decay.

Topical and Systemic Fluorides

Systemic fluorides make our erupting teeth strong. They are those that are swallowed. Examples include fluoride water and fluoride supplements. Most of our water sources and foods contain these types of fluoride.

Topical fluorides make the teeth strong and protect them from dental caries (tooth decay or cavities). It is usually advised that children get a professional topical fluoride treatment during their routine dental examinations.Topical fluorides are applied directly to the tooth enamel. Examples include fluoride toothpastes and mouthrinses, as well as fluoride treatments in the dental office.

Professional Fluoride Treatment

If you or a family member have a moderate to high risk of any damage, such as dry mouth or tooth decay, a professional fluoride treatment can help. These treatments contain a much more potent level of fluoride than the amount found in over-the-counter care products. Professional fluoride procedures do not take very long. The fluoride may be a gel (painted on or applied with a mouth guard), foam (applied by mouth guard), or varnish (painted on the teeth). Most typically, it is applied with a cotton swab or brush, or it is used as a rinse or placed in a tray that is held in the mouth for several minutes. After the treatment, you may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride and help repair microscopic areas. Other treatments may be recommended if necessary. These recommendations may include over-the-counter products, prescription products such as fluoride mouthrinses, gels, or antibacterial mouthrinses.

Schedule an appointment today at our family dentist Indianapolis for professional advice on which fluoride treatment is right for you.

When is fluoride an absolute must?

If you are taking medications that cause dry mouth (Xerostomia) or have a disease that causes dry mouth, such as Sjogren’s syndrome, fluoride may be recommend for you. Without saliva to wash away the acids and food particles in your mouth, you are more susceptible to tooth decay. Here is a list of scenarios where you may want to consider a fluoride treatment.

  • If your gums have receded or pulled away from the teeth. This gives bacteria more room to roam and hastens tooth decay. This would be a time your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment. If not, ask if you could benefit from one.
  • If you wear braces. Braces and other orthodontic appliances such as the brackets can trap a lot of bacteria that can lead to cavities.
  • If you’ve had radiation therapy to the neck or head. Radiation damages the salivary glands, causing dry mouth. The absence of saliva makes it harder for food particles to be washed away, putting your teeth at risk of demineralization.
  • Gum recession and gum disease can expose more of your teeth and roots, risking the chance of bacteria getting inside and consequently increasing the chance of tooth decay.
  • History of frequent cavities. If you have one cavity every year or every other year, you may benefit from additional fluoride.
  • Dental work present in the mouth, like crowns, bridges or braces. Some dental treatments put teeth at risk for decay at the point where the crown meets the underlying tooth structure.
  • Patients who are frequent snackers, eat sugary foods, or have a family history of cavities are at an increased risk of tooth decay.
  • Patients who have deep pits and grooves in their teeth are prone to dental decay.

What are the risks?

Fluoride is safe and effective when used as directed, but can be hazardous in high doses, particularly in children. Consult your dentist about the safety level of your children using toothpastes with fluoride.

In addition, excess fluoride can cause defects in tooth enamel that range from barely noticeable white specks to brown discoloration (dental fluorosis). Talk to your dentist today about your fluoride risks and home care options.

Here at Indy Family Dentist, our fluoride treatments are safe and affordable. Consult us about our fluoride treatment options available at your next dental appointment!

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