When we hear “fluoride,” we sometimes think of children’s toothpaste and the importance of these minerals in helping their teeth grow stronger. However, did you know that fluoride can greatly benefit adults too? This treatment can strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the risk of tooth decay so that you can enjoy a beautiful and healthy smile throughout your life. This article will explore the ins and outs of fluoride treatment and some benefits you can look forward to.
What is a Fluoride Treatment?
Fluoride treatment for adults is a preventative dental care procedure that involves the application of fluoride, a natural mineral, to the teeth in order to strengthen enamel and prevent cavities.
The Importance of Fluoride Treatment for Adults
Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent oral issues in the world, with an average of 96% of all adults in Canada having a history of cavities. Whether due to poor oral hygiene or an overly sugary diet, the bacteria in your mouth begin wearing down the enamel and creating holes in your molars. This can be painful and significantly impact the functioning of your teeth and the appearance of your smile.
Fluoride treatment for adults is especially important, as these individuals can be susceptible to tooth decay due to various factors, including the following:
- Increase in consumption of sugar and acidic foods and drinks
- Decrease in saliva production (which naturally washes your mouth) due to aging and use of certain medications that can cause dry mouth
- Existing dental restorations, such as fillings and crowns, weaken tooth enamel and make teeth more vulnerable to decay
What to Expect from Fluoride Treatment
Professional fluoride treatment administered by your dentist or hygienist typically involves highly concentrated fluoride gel or foam to ensure rapid results. This is applied to the teeth for a few minutes using a swab or brush. After the few minutes have elapsed, you’ll likely be allowed to clear your saliva, but you won’t be able to rinse your mouth. Here’s what else you can expect from the treatment:
- The procedure is quick and painless. Fluoride treatment is a non-invasive treatment that takes only a few minutes to complete.
- Your dentist may advise refraining from eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes after fluoride treatment to allow optimal absorption into your teeth.
- It’s common to experience temporary sensitivity in your teeth after fluoride treatment, particularly if you have dental restorations or exposed tooth roots. This discomfort usually goes away within a few days and can be managed with sensitivity toothpaste or by avoiding hot and cold foods and drinks.
Benefits of Fluoride Treatment
There are various benefits of fluoride treatment for adults who want to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Here are some examples:
1. Protects Your Enamel
Certain foods and beverages containing high amounts of acid or sugar, such as lemonade, pop, and candy, cause your enamel to break down. When this protective layer begins to deteriorate, your teeth will become incredibly sensitive to hot and cold substances, bringing significant discomfort when eating or drinking.
Fluoride, whether in toothpaste or professionally applied, helps your teeth’s protective barrier. The minerals in it contribute to the process of remineralization, which strengthens the enamel.
2. Helps Prevent Cavities and Tooth Decay
Bacteria are present in every area of our bodies, and our mouths are no exception. When we consume food, especially sugary and starchy substances, bacteria begin to break it down and produce acid. This harmful acid wears down your enamel and starts the decay process.
With the help of fluoride treatments and consistent brushing with mineral toothpaste, the enamel will become less susceptible to cavities and deterioration.
3. Reverses Early Signs of Decay
Fluoride treatment for adults can reverse early signs of tooth decay, such as white spots on the teeth. These spots indicate that the enamel has started to demineralize, but with regular fluoride treatment, this protective barrier can re-mineralize, causing these spots to disappear.
4. Strengthens Existing Dental Restorations
Over time, restorations like fillings and crowns can weaken and make your teeth more vulnerable to decay. However, fluoride treatment can help prevent this from happening and prolong the life of your dental restorations.
5. Reduces Sensitivity
While sensitivity may be an initial side effect immediately after fluoride treatment, the overall process can reduce tooth sensitivity in the long term. This is especially true for people with exposed tooth roots or who have recently undergone dental procedures such as teeth whitening or orthodontic treatment. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel and dentin, which can reduce your sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.
6. Saves You Money Down The Road
Sooner or later, everyone is bound to undergo some sort of dental treatment beyond simple cleanings. Problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss are common issues many individuals experience throughout their lives. Even if you maintain a good oral hygiene routine by brushing twice daily and flossing before bed, the chance of developing cavities is still present.
Incorporating topical fluoride intake into your dental hygiene routine through the use of mouthwashes, certain kinds of toothpaste, and professional treatments can help ensure your teeth stay healthy and protected from any expensive dental treatments down the line.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should adults get fluoride treatment?
The frequency of fluoride treatment depends on your individual needs and the risk of tooth decay. For most adults, fluoride treatment is recommended every three to six months, but your dentist may suggest a customized timeline depending on your oral health. If you have a history of frequent cavities or other dental problems, your dentist may also recommend fluoride supplements or prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste.
Is fluoride treatment worth it?
Fluoride treatment is definitely worth it for adults who want to maintain good oral health and prevent tooth decay. It’s a safe and effective way to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the risk of cavities and other dental problems.
How long do fluoride treatments last?
The time that fluoride treatment lasts can vary depending on individual factors like oral hygiene habits and diet. Generally, the benefits of fluoride treatment can last for several months, but it’s important to continue brushing and flossing to maintain its effects.
Can fluoride substitute brushing?
While fluoride treatment can help prevent tooth decay, it’s not a substitute for good oral hygiene practices, like brushing and flossing daily and visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. By combining fluoride treatment with these other practices, you can maintain good oral health and confidently show off your sparkly smile wherever you go.
Fluoride Treatments At Costello Family Dentistry
By incorporating fluoride into your regular oral hygiene routine, you can enjoy a beautiful and healthy smile in the long term. At Costello Family Dentistry, we believe in the power of preventative dentistry, which is why our fluoride treatments are designed to help you maintain optimal oral health. Our team of hygienists has made it their mission to provide you with a high-quality level of service every time you step into our clinic. Reach out to us to book your appointment today or learn more about how our fluoride treatments can help.