Fluoride is a mineral found in natural water sources and is considered nature’s cavity fighter. It is a safe, effective agent for preventing and controlling dental caries (cavities). This naturally occurring mineral prevents cavities in children and adults by making tooth enamel more resistant to acids in the mouth that lead to tooth decay. Treatment with topical fluoride during dental exams can strengthen the teeth and make them more cavity resistant.
Dr. Tyler Wurmlinger and Dr. Ross Nash offer fluoride treatments at Cosmetic Dentistry of the Carolinas to improve oral health and prevent or control cavities. Our dentists take pride in providing world-class dentistry services and have an excellent reputation in Huntersville, North Carolina.
How Does Fluoride Protect Teeth?
Fluoride can strengthen teeth before they break through the gums, with fluoride found in dietary supplements, beverages and foods. This is a “systemic” benefit because the fluoride makes the tooth enamel stronger and more cavity-resistant before it’s exposed above the gumline.
Topical fluoride treatments are applied to the tooth surface after the teeth erupt through the gums. Professional treatments with a dentist and fluoridated dental products, such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, can protect the teeth. These fluoride products and treatments rebuild weakened enamel and reverse early signs of tooth decay.
Fluoride consumed in beverages and foods provides a systemic and topical benefit by mixing with your saliva and bathing your teeth in small amounts of fluoride to rebuild tooth enamel.
Types of Fluoride
Fluoride is found in rivers, lakes and oceans and is often added to public water supplies to protect the population from tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is considered one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Research shows water fluoridation helps prevent tooth decay in children and adults by at least 25%.
Topical fluoride can be self-applied with toothpaste, mouth rinses and gels or with higher-strength products from a dentist. Fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinses are responsible for a significant drop in the rate of cavities in the last 60 years. Parents are encouraged to brush their children’s teeth with fluoridated toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Children and adults living in areas with inadequate amounts of fluoride in the drinking water may be prescribed fluoride supplements.
Professional Fluoride Treatments
Fluoride varnishes and treatments are common during dental exams. Dr. Wurmlinger or Dr. Nash may recommend fluoride treatment during your dental visit with fluoride gel, foam or rinse that may be flavored. These in-office treatments protect patients who have a higher risk of developing dental caries due to poor oral hygiene, exposed root surfaces, poor diet, high amounts of bacteria in the mouth, dry mouth and other risk factors.
Professional fluoride treatments utilize stronger fluoride concentrations than over-the-counter toothpaste or mouth rinses and typically take just a few minutes. The fluoride may be applied with a brush or cotton swab or administered as a rinse. Some fluoride treatments place the substance in a tray that you hold in your mouth for several minutes.
You may be asked to avoid drinking, eating or rinsing for at least 30 minutes after your fluoride treatment to ensure the teeth absorb the substance.
Our dentists may recommend fluoride treatments every three, six or 12 months, depending on your needs. If you have a moderate to high risk of tooth decay, prescription fluoride products are another option, including antibacterial mouth rinses, gels and toothpaste.
Schedule a Dental Exam and Learn More About Your Fluoride Needs
Schedule a dental exam to discuss fluoride treatment and your oral health with Dr. Wurmlinger or Dr. Nash. Contact Cosmetic Dentistry of the Carolinas at (704) 895-7660 or request a virtual consultation online.