Dentists encourage their patients to brush and floss regularly to remove food debris and plaque from the teeth. Plaque is the sticky, clear film that forms on the teeth and gums; it contains bacteria that produce acids that can lead to tooth decay, or dental caries (cavities). Along with regular dental exams, another important part of keeping teeth clean and healthy is getting a sufficient amount of fluoride. This naturally-occurring mineral can help strengthen enamel, prevent cavities, and even repair teeth that are in the very early, microscopic stages of caries.
Fluoride can be consumed (systemic fluoride) through food and water – many public sources of water now are fluoridated. It can be found in tea and several different foods, such as crab, potatoes, and grapes. Fluoride can also be obtained through dietary fluoride supplements. Besides being swallowed, fluoride can be obtained topically, by having it applied directly to the tooth enamel. Fluoride toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments at the dentist office are all ways to obtain fluoride topically. You can receive this treatment at our office to give your teeth a boost in health. It is more effective than store-bought options because the fluoride preparation used by dentists is more strongly-concentrated than that in toothpastes or mouth rinses.
A fluoride treatment is a very quick and easy procedure, taking just a few minutes. The teeth will first be cleaned thoroughly, then dried. The fluoride may come in the form of a solution, gel, foam, or varnish and will usually be applied with a cotton swab or brush. It can also be applied as a rinse or placed in a tray and held in the mouth for several minutes. The teeth will be ready to use again shortly following the procedure, but you may be asked not to eat, drink, or rinse for about 30 minutes to allow the fluoride time to absorb into the teeth completely. In that time, the fluoride will have a chance to start repairing microscopic carious areas.
Depending on your personal status, your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months. If you are looking for protection against cavities, book an appointment today to receive a fluoride treatment.