Prevent Cavities with Fluoride Treatments
By Rajal Patel DDS — Orange, New Jersey Dentist
Do you want to protect you teeth from decay, plaque and sugar? Are you looking for a way to build your tooth enamel to make it stronger and healthier?
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making each tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque, bacteria, and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay.
How Fluoride Treatments Work
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Every day, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Minerals are lost (demineralization) from a tooth’s enamel (outer) layer when acids — formed from plaque, bacteria, and sugars in the mouth — attack the enamel. Minerals such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate are redeposited (remineralization) to the enamel layer from the foods and water consumed. When remineralization is insufficient to repair the enamel layer, demineralization leads to tooth decay.
In children under six years of age, fluoride becomes incorporated into the structure of developing permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth after they erupt. Fluoride also helps speed remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults.
In What Forms Is Fluoride Available?
As mentioned, fluoride is found in foods and in water. It can also be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses. Mouth rinses containing fluoride in lower strengths are available over-the-counter; stronger concentrations require a doctor’s prescription.
Yogi Dental can also apply fluoride to the teeth as a gel, foam, or varnish. These treatments contain a much higher level of fluoride than the amount found in toothpastes and mouth rinses. Varnishes are painted on the teeth; foams are put into a mouth guard, which is applied to the teeth for 1 to 4 minutes; gels can be painted on or applied via a mouth guard.
Fluoride supplements are also available as liquids and tablets and must be prescribed by your dentist, pediatrician or family doctor.
Is There an Age at which Fluoride Intake Is Most Critical?
It is certainly important for infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years to be exposed to fluoride. These are the time frames during which the primary and permanent teeth come in. However, adults benefit from fluoride too. New research indicates that topical fluoride — from toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments — are as important in fighting tooth decay as in strengthening developing teeth.
In addition, people with certain conditions may be at increased risk of tooth decay and would therefore benefit from additional fluoride treatment.