When Do You Need Fluoride Treatments?

When Do You Need Fluoride Treatments?

The enamel is the strongest part of the tooth, and its strength is largely dependent on minerals like calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. Daily, our teeth are subjected to two processes—demineralization and re-mineralization. Demineralization is the process that strips off the minerals from the teeth while re-mineralization restores them. The food we eat and our oral hygiene practices contribute to the demineralization process.

The two processes should occur concurrently. However certain factors can create an imbalance and eventually weaken the teeth, and that’s where fluoride treatment comes in.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water, rocks, and food. We can also find it in toothpaste and mouthwashes. It is an essential mineral as it helps to prevent tooth decay. Furthermore, it strengthens the enamel making it less prone to acid attacks and promotes overall health.

When is Fluoride Treatment Critical?

Fluoride is ideally used for children between six and 16 years because this is the time their permanent teeth and jawbone begin to develop. It is also a time when kids are at a high risk of developing dental cavities. Fluoride treatment helps to support and strengthen the developing teeth.

However, certain conditions can warrant the use of fluoride treatments for adults;

1. Dry mouth 

Dry mouth or xerostomia is a symptom of underlying medical conditions, but it could also be caused by medications and certain habits like smoking tobacco. Dry mouth is characterized by the lack or low production of saliva.

Saliva is vital as it helps to clean the mouth of food particles. Furthermore, it counteracts bacterial activity in the mouth and prevents buildup. Saliva is also responsible for the re-mineralization process. Lack of saliva production stripes off the teeth minerals and also causes bad breath, infection of the tongue, cheeks, and gums.

Using a fluoride treatment will not necessarily get rid of the underlying cause, but can reduce tooth decay and improve the situation. If you notice that your dry mouth is due to a dental health condition, visit our dental clinic immediately.

2. Periodontitis

Periodontitis or gum disease affects your gum causing inflammation and bleeding. Furthermore, it can cause the gum to recede and expose more teeth to bacterial attack. Gum recession may also cause bacterial growth in the root leading to decay.

Our dentist will give you dental fluoride either as varnish or gel to protect the root. For mild gum disease, you can use fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash.

3. You have dental crowns, bridges or braces

Dental crowns, bridges, or veneers are not free of cavities. The edges of these dental fixtures provide room for bacterial growth. Furthermore, the metal braces may trap food particles leading to bacterial growth. A fluoride treatment will help protect your natural teeth and stop decay.

4. Recurrent dental cavities

If you have a history of dental decay or cavities, then the dentist will recommend dental fluoride as a preventive measure.

5. Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy to the head and neck can damage your salivary glands causing dry mouth. For radiation-induced dry mouth, you will not need the standard fluoride treatment. Instead, the dentist will create a custom tray to hold the fluoride gel in place. You will need to apply the gel for five minutes every day. Plus, have a regular dental checkup every two to three months.

Risks of Excess Fluoride Use 

Regardless of the dental health and condition, all adults can benefit from fluoride treatment. However, be careful not to use it excess. Though rare, an overdose of fluoride can cause fluorosis which weakens the enamel. Plus, it can lead to the formation of white specks and streaks in the teeth. 
It is therefore important to monitor your children when they are using the fluoride toothpaste.

Final Thoughts

Fluoride treatment can benefit all people if used in the proper dosage. Although there are at-home fluoride kits, it’s beneficial to receive the treatment from the dentist.

If you are looking for a fluoride treatment in Astoria, call and schedule an appointment with our dentist for an effective dental assessment.