What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral and is a largely beneficial material in helping to protect and strengthen the enamel on your teeth. From toothpaste to mouthwash, many dental products include trace elements of fluoride to give your teeth added protection. Sometimes, city water companies will even include fluoride in their drinking water. In a dental application, fluoride is a gel-like liquid that can be brushed onto the teeth.
While we are exposed to fluoride naturally and artificially throughout our lives, sometimes it is not enough to protect our tooth enamel. If your teeth appear fluoride-deficient, Dr. Crosby may recommend adding a targeted boost of fluoride treatment to help give your teeth even more strength and prevent future tooth decay and disease.
How Is Fluoride Applied?
Fluoride can be applied in one of two ways. To target a handful of teeth, the fluoride is sometimes wiped onto the surface of the teeth using a cotton swab. Other times, a tray filled with fluoride liquid is inserted into the mouth. The tray is left to sit on the teeth for a few minutes before removal. Regardless of which application method is used, remember to not eat or drink anything for thirty minutes following a treatment to allow your teeth to fully absorb the nutrients.
Fluoride treatments are fast, easy, and painless, and they usually only take a few extra minutes at the end of your regular biannual dental exam. Because they are considered a preventive dental treatment, the additional protection is usually covered by most dental insurance plans.
Why Is Fluoride Treatment Necessary?
Sometimes, our teeth do not get enough fluoride from our normal daily intake. When this happens, our teeth can develop pitting and may become softer than usual. The enamel that normally helps to protect the teeth can become weak and compromised. Adding a fluoride treatment can restore strength, allowing your teeth to fend off cavities and possible decay.
However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and sometimes excessive fluoride intake can lead to a condition called fluorosis. This condition isn’t dangerous but can cause pitting to form in the enamel. If Dr. Crosby notices signs of too much fluoride, he may forego additional fluoride treatments.
How Often Should I Get a Fluoride Treatment?
If your teeth are fluoride-deficient, or if you want to add another layer of protection, we recommend adding treatments about two to three times per year as an adult. Children, however, should have fluoride treatments more frequently, up to four times per year, or every three months. Fluoride helps give young teeth added strength as they grow and form, and studies have proven that fluoride treatments can prevent cavities in young children. We recommend fluoride treatments, especially for children, to help protect their newly developed teeth while learning healthy brushing and dental routines.
To schedule yourself or a family member for a dental cleaning and fluoride treatment, reach out to our office to schedule an appointment. Our Crosby Dentistry Team is ready to help your smile shine its brightest!