If you’re dedicated to taking good care of your smile to keep it healthy and bright, you’re probably already using fluoride toothpaste. So when your dentist or dental hygienist offers you a fluoride treatment after a cleaning, you’re probably curious about the extra benefits. Do fluoride treatments help prevent cavities?
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally occurring in many foods and water supplies. Fluoride can help to prevent tooth decay by protecting teeth from the negative effects of bacteria and sugar. Fluoride may also help to reverse early tooth decay by helping to remineralize the enamel or outer layer of your teeth. Fluoride treatments help prevent cavities by strengthening the protective properties of your enamel.
Fluoride has also been shown to help with tooth sensitivity, so if you have problems with extra sensitivity to hot or cold drinks or to sweets, it may be helpful to ask your dentist if fluoride might help alleviate some of your discomfort so that you can better enjoy the things that you love to eat or drink.
How Do I Get Fluoride?
While fluoride is found in small amounts in many things that you may eat or drink, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting enough fluoride and that the fluoride is being properly absorbed by your teeth. Fluoride treatments help prevent cavities, but only if your teeth receive enough fluoride. That’s why fluoride is not only added to city water supplies, but also toothpastes and mouthwashes, and often offered as an additional treatment after a dental cleaning or exam.
The amount of fluoride you need can depend on a number of factors such as age, dental health history, genetics, diet and other environmental factors. The amount of fluoride added to a water supply can be beneficial, but the amount that your teeth absorb is much less than with targeted treatments like fluoride varnishes or sealants that your dentist may provide you with.
Talk to Your Dentist About Fluoride
It’s always a good idea to talk to your dentist to find out if you’re getting the right amount of fluoride for your needs. Especially if it’s been more than 6 months since you’ve last seen your dentist for an exam and cleaning. Your dentist is the best person to talk to about getting adequate fluoride from natural sources and the oral hygiene products you use and may also be able to apply a fluoride varnish or sealant to give your teeth a head start on the fluoride they need to stay strong and healthy.
Call our Gilbert, Mesa or San Tan Valley dental offices to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.