Dental Care Blog

Doug Klein DDS, Grandville MI

How Fluoride Treatments Prevent Tooth Decay

Good daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits are essential to remove plaque and maintain healthy teeth. 

Another key to good oral health is fluoride treatments. Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay and can repair teeth in the very early, microscopic stages of gum disease.

Fluoride treatment information from Klein Dentistry in Grandville MI

Benefits Of Fluoride Treatments

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average number of missing or decaying teeth in 12-year-old children in the United States dropped by 68 percent from the late 1960s through the early 1990s. Why?

Because of the introduction to, and expansion of, fluoridated water in communities, not to mention the addition of fluoride to toothpastes and other dental products.

That’s because fluoride helps to:

  • Rebuild weakened tooth enamel
  • Slow down the loss of minerals from tooth enamel
  • Reverse early signs of tooth decay
  • Prevent the growth of harmful oral bacteria

How Fluoride Varnish Works

While most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes more needs to be done to prevent decay. In these instances, fluoride can be used in two ways.

Topical Fluoride — These are applied directly to the tooth enamel and include things like fluoride toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments in the dental office.

Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay.

Systemic Fluoride — There are those that are swallowed, like fluoridated water and dietary fluoride supplements, and they strengthen the teeth that are exposed as well as those that are developing under the gums. When ingested, the fluoride is incorporated into the developing enamel like a “cement hardener”, making fluoridated enamel more resistant to breakdown by acids than non-fluoridated enamel. It’s also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician.

Who Should Get A Professional Fluoride Treatment?

Dentists have used in-office fluoride treatments for decades to help protect the oral health, especially in patients who may be at a higher risk due to:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Active tooth decay
  • Eating disorders
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Lack of regular professional dental care
  • Poor diet
  • Active orthodontic treatment combined with poor oral hygiene
  • High levels of decay-causing bacteria in the mouth
  • Exposed root surfaces of teeth
  • Decreased salivary flow, resulting in dry mouth
  • Existing fillings

How Does A Fluoride Treatment Work?

The fluoride used in your dentist’s office is a much stronger concentration than that in toothpastes or fluoride mouth rinses that are available in stores, and the good news is that fluoride treatments generally take only a few minutes.

The fluoride may be in the form of a solution, gel, foam, or varnish, and is applied to the teeth with a paintbrush much like nail polish. The tooth will be slightly dried off, and fluoride will be painted on all necessary surfaces. After the treatment, you may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least an hour to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. The fluoride varnish then remains on the teeth for a number of hours, releasing fluoride into the immediate environment and helping to protect against tooth decay.

Depending on your specific oral health situation, fluoride treatments may be recommended every three, six, or 12 months.

Call Klein Dentistry In Grandville MI To Schedule Fluoride Treatments For Your Family!

To learn more about how fluoride treatments could benefit you, or to schedule an appointment, contact us anytime. We’d love to learn more about your situation and find a plan that’s right for you.

Then, contact Klein Dentistry for an appointment to start your own smile design plan!

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