Did you know your dentist has a special treatment he or she can apply to your teeth that not only prevents decay, but can reverse it, too? It’s called fluoride, and it’s safe and just as beneficial for you as it is for your kids.
Fluoride is one of the many minerals that make up the protective enamel layer of your teeth. Every day, enamel goes through a cycle of demineralization and remineralization. Minerals are lost when the acid produced by plaque breaks down enamel, which puts teeth at risk for cavities. Minerals are redeposited systemically and topically. Strong enamel fortified with fluoride means healthier teeth and fewer cavities.
In-office fluoride treatments are safe and effective.
Fluoride is already found in many of the foods and beverages we consume every day, but maximum cavity protection is achieved when fluoride is available systemically and topically, according to the American Dental Association.
At Tewksbury Dental Associates, we offer topical fluoride varnish treatments to protect and strengthen your teeth.
You might ask yourself, “Can’t I just buy mouthwash or toothpaste with fluoride in it?
There are two factors that determine the efficacy of a fluoride treatment: the concentration of the fluoride and the length of time it stays in contact with your teeth. Integration of fluoride into your teeth takes time, so if it’s washed away seconds or minutes after it’s applied, the benefits of the treatment can be minimal. Fluoride mouth rinses, while not completely ineffective, have relatively low concentrations and do not maintain very long contact with your teeth, which makes them less ideal for high-risk patients. Prescription fluoride toothpastes are much more concentrated, and if left on the teeth after brushing, can stick around for about 30 minutes and be quite effective. Fluoride varnishes are the most concentrated topical fluoride and are designed to stick to your teeth for four to six hours, which makes them by far the most effective means of fluoride application.
“Our fluoride varnish has higher fluoride content than that of over-the-counter products, takes less than two minutes to apply and sticks to your teeth until you are ready to remove it with ordinary tooth brushing,” says Dr. Nitish Nahata, a Tewksbury dentist.
Is an adult fluoride treatment right for you?
Adults who are at high risk for decay should consider fluoride treatments.
Indications for adult fluoride treatment include:
- Dry mouth – reduced saliva production creates the ideal environment for plaque-producing bacteria to multiply.
- Periodontal disease- gum recession and deep pockets expose parts of the tooth that are softer and more prone to decay.
- Dental restorations –plaque buildup is common around the margins of restorations. It is much less expensive and less invasive to protect these restorations with fluoride than it is to replace them!
- Braces – it can be more challenging to maintain good oral hygiene when you have to navigate around an intricate orthodontic appliance.
- Grape juice
- Tomato products, canned, sauce
- Orange juice
- Grapefruit juice
The benefits sound great, but you are still not convinced fluoride is safe…
Keep in mind that it is actually quite difficult to consume an unhealthy dose of fluoride, unless you are consuming large amounts of fluoridated mouth rinses or topical products. As mentioned earlier, fluoride is present in many of the “healthy” foods you eat every day.
The following foods made it to the top of Self Nutrition Data’s list of the top 100 foods high in fluoride
As an adult, the likelihood of needing dental restorations looms. And while today’s cosmetic restorations look beautiful and natural, nothing beats your natural teeth. Fluoride treatments are a preventive measure that help you keep your natural teeth stronger longer. Call us today to learn more about adult fluoride varnish treatments or to schedule an initial consultation.