Most often fluoride and its use in dental treatments is associated with children and the strengthening of their young, vulnerable teeth. Although fluoride is important for young children, it is beneficial for adolescents and adults of all ages as well. In fact, new research indicates that fluoride’s role in fighting tooth decay as we age is just as important as its role in the strengthening and protection of newly developing teeth. That’s why at Midtown Dental Clinic, as a part of our commitment to preserving your smile, Richland dentists Dr. Kristina Bunch and Dr. Chris Kleist encourage patients to receive a fluoride treatment as part of their routine oral healthcare.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in both food and water. It aids in the prevention of tooth decay and cavities by making teeth resistant to the acids created by plaque and sugars. Fluoride is deposited on tooth enamel when you eat foods and beverages that contain it; it is lost when the acids produced by plaque and sugars eat away at the enamel of a tooth. Tooth decay occurs when the amount of fluoride lost outweighs what is being deposited.
A fluoride treatment involves applying fluoride topically to teeth. The in-office fluoride treatment is simple, painless, and fast, and it involves applying fluoride in the form of varnish, gel, or foam directly onto the teeth. This can be accomplished by wearing a mouthguard filled with the foam or gel or by having varnish painted directly onto your teeth.
Q. Who needs a fluoride treatment?
A. Drs. Bunch and Kleist may suggest that a dental fluoride treatment be included as part of your regular dental plan if you are at moderate to high risk for cavities. Similarly, if you have a history of restorative work, gum disease, sensitive teeth, or a variety of other conditions, you may be more susceptible to tooth decay, and regular fluoride treatments can play an essential role in maintaining a healthy, white smile.
Q. Can you have a fluoride deficiency? Can you have a fluoride overdose?
A. If you do not get enough fluoride, you may suffer from fluoride deficiency, which may lead to increased cavities and weak bones. Though extremely rare, fluoride overdose can occur if you take more than the recommended amount. Symptoms of overdose include abdominal pain, headaches, and weakness. Call poison control immediately if you think you have overdosed.
Q. Are at-home fluoride treatments effective?
A. Fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinses can be used as at-home fluoride treatments. However, the fluoride concentration in these applications is much weaker and less effective than that found in in-office treatments.