Do Fluoride Treatments Protect Your Teeth?
In-office whitening treatments offer additional protection against dental decay and the acid-producing bacteria that collects around the gingivae and teeth in a sticky transparent bio-film called plaque, but for additional oral care, fluoride treatments protect your teeth. If you don’t follow a regular practice of brushing twice a day and flossing once daily, your teeth become more vulnerable to cavities. While regular dental exams and cleanings will keep teeth healthy and decay-free, in-office fluoride treatments protect your teeth even better.
What Is Fluoride and How Is It Accessed?
Frequently called nature’s cavity fighter, fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that prevents cavities by making the dental enamel resistant to the acid attacks that lead to tooth decay. Fluoride provides a topical benefit when you brush with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, as it remineralizes weakened tooth enamel, reversing the early signs of decay. When you use fluoride in a mouthwash or toothpaste, it continues to provide its decay-resistant properties because it becomes part of the saliva.
How Is Fluoride Obtained?
For its use in oral health care, fluoride is obtained in 2 forms – either topical or systemic. As the name suggests, a topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth enamel. Examples of topical fluorides include fluoride-based toothpastes and mouth rinses and in-office fluoride treatments.
A systemic fluoride is a supplemental fluoride that can be swallowed and ingested. Therefore, a fluoridated water supply is an example of a systemic fluoride. Dietary fluoride supplements may also be included under this classification.
How an In-office Fluoride Treatment Is Applied
Dentists apply in-office fluoride treatments for people who are at a higher risk for dental caries, or for anyone who may be interested in receiving extra protection. The treatment, which may be administered in a gel, varnish, foam, or solution, is a stronger and more concentrated fluoride than the fluoride used for home care.
Normally, patients who have received fluoride treatments are asked not to eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes after the treatment. That way, the fluoride can absorb and repair the carious areas of the dental enamel. Treatments may be prescribed every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on the patient’s risk of decay.
You will find having fluoride treatments can help greatly in the prevention of cavities. Our supportive and friendly dental team is always willing to answer any dental concerns or questions about in-office whitening treatments. To schedule an appointment for a professional dental cleaning, exam, and fluoride treatment, contact River Valley Smile Center at 479-646-0706 or find us on Facebook.