Fluoride is an important element when it comes to tooth health. And although it can be acquired naturally, it has been proven that additional fluoride has a number of benefits for your dental health.
What is Fluoride?
In addition to being a mineral in your teeth and bones, “Fluoride is found naturally in soil, water, and foods,” states Medical News Today. It is also added to municipal water supplies “because studies have shown that adding it in areas where fluoride levels in the water are low can reduce the prevalence of tooth decay in the local population.” This is called “water fluoridation.”
Fluoride is commonly used to improve dental health and is often added to toothpastes, mouth rinses and supplements. If you have a private water source like a well, you can have your water tested by an environmental testing company to check the fluoride levels.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Simply explained, your mouth is filled with bacteria which aid in breaking down carbs and sugars. However, when they do so, they produce acids that can eat away the minerals in your tooth enamel, a process called demineralization. When tooth enamel is eroded, it opens the door for bacteria to lodge in pockets and crevasses created by weak enamel, and cause cavities and tooth decay.
When your saliva is less acidic, your body naturally replenishes the minerals like phosphorous and calcium that strengthen your tooth enamel, a process called remineralization. Fluoride helps to remineralize the tooth enamel by helping those minerals to become harder. It will also help to prevent demineralization the next time you eat. A sufficient amount is generally provided by your fluoride toothpaste, rinses and drinking water.
Fluoride can help to prevent cavities in two ways:
• It helps to harden developing teeth of young children, even before the teeth emerge
• It helps to harden the enamel on adult teeth
How You Can Get the Most Benefit from Fluoride
To get the most dental benefits from fluoride, brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. Floss once daily. Rinse your mouth once a day with a mouth rinse containing fluoride (over age 6), and ask us about a professional fluoride treatment.
Professional Fluoride Treatments
Apart from the topical fluorides applied directly to the tooth enamel, like your toothpastes and rinses, your dentist can provide in-office fluoride treatments for patients who may be at higher risk of developing dental diseases and tooth decay. These risk factors can include:
• Poor oral hygiene and/or lack of professional dental care
• Eating disorders and/or poor diet
• Alcohol or drug abuse
• Current orthodontic treatment
• Tooth enamel defects
The fluoride treatment provided by your dentist is stronger than those found in toothpastes and rinses and comes in the form of a solution, gel or foam. Your dentist will apply this solution to your teeth with a brush or cotton swab, or place it into a tray fitted over your teeth for a few minutes.
After your fluoride treatment, you will be asked not to eat or drink for 30 minutes. This gives the teeth time to absorb the fluoride. Professional fluoride treatments can be repeated or recommended every three, six or 12 months, depending upon your personal dental health conditions.
Get Professional Fluoride Treatments at Advanced Family Dentistry—Your Reston Family Dentist
At Advanced Family Dentistry, we care about your dental health and want to ensure the best treatments for you and your entire family. Dr. Sonny Kim works diligently to keep up to date with the latest techniques and developments in oral health care. And he will be glad to pass the benefits on to you or answer any questions you might have about your own dental health care.
Advanced Family Dentistry is located in Reston, Virginia to serve families throughout Northern Virginia. Contact us today to set your appointment.
Dr. Sonny Kim is a Diplomat of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI), the highest education level for general dentists in this field.
Advanced Family Dentistry
Dr. Sonny Kim, DMD
11876 Sunrise Valley Dr, Suite 101
Reston, VA 20191