On your regular visits to the dentist, you probably receive a fluoride treatment about once a year. These treatments help protect your teeth from decay and can even reverse decay in its very early stages. With these regular treatments, your teeth stay as healthy as possible.
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride is one of a few minerals that help keep the teeth strong. Teeth are constantly being eroded by acids in the food we eat and beverages we drink. In addition, bacteria in the mouth create waste products that are also highly acidic and damage the teeth. If acidic food remnants or the plaque bacteria leaves behind are not cleaned away, they eat into the outer tooth surfaces. The early stage of this process is called demineralization. Eventually, the acids can eat through the enamel, creating decay.
Fluoride, however, helps rebuild the enamel through a process called remineralization. Fluoride strengthens the damaged areas and reverses the earliest stages of tooth decay. It also helps your teeth remain stronger and more resistant to acid erosion. This is why it’s important to use a fluoride toothpaste on a regular basis. In many places, fluoride is also added to drinking water, which helps keep teeth healthy, as well, especially the teeth of children, who have more difficulty maintaining regular dental care.
Fluoride strengthens the damaged areas and reverses the earliest stages of tooth decay.
Why Do I Need Extra Fluoride?
Fluoride treatments are a common procedure in dentistry. But if there is fluoride added to our drinking water, and we use toothpaste with added fluoride, why is it necessary to have fluoride treatments when we go to the dentist? The answer is that a dentist can use a stronger, more concentrated form of fluoride, and can apply it to your teeth in a variety of ways.
In the dental office, fluoride can be applied as a gel, foam, or varnish. Regular fluoride treatments are typically a gel or a foam, which helps strengthen the teeth and reverse minor decay that regular-strength fluoride hasn’t been able to remineralize. Fluoride varnishes can be used to reduce sensitivity and to seal the teeth to further protect from decay, so these applications of fluoride work even more thoroughly to protect your teeth.
Call our office at 512-200-7422 to set up your next appointment.