When you return to your dentist’s office twice a year for your cleaning and check-up, your dental hygienist will most likely ask if you want to do a fluoride treatment. Most people are familiar with the term fluoride, but do not truly know what it truly entails. The application of fluoride can be a bit controversial, but when equipped with the knowledge of how it can benefit you and your oral health, you will see that fluoride treatments are, in fact, quite important. Continue reading for more information about fluoride treatments and why they are important.
What is Fluoride?
While there has been much debate on whether fluoride is healthy to consume through water, the American Dental Association has produced over 70 years worth of research to prove that fluoridated water provides nothing but benefits for those who consume it.
Fluoride is a mineral that is found in the earth’s crust, and can also be found all throughout nature. In many regions, fluoride is added into the drinking water in order to improve the strength of teeth and prevent decay. In the 1930’s, several formal clinical studies concluded that people who drank water that contained fluoride experienced far less tooth decay; up to two-thirds fewer cavities were detected than those who drank water that did not contain fluoride.
How it Works
The hard outer layer of the tooth is known as the enamel. When damage or decay penetrates the enamel, the individual experiences pain or sensitivity. Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel, which prevents decay from penetrating it and reaching the sensitive inner layers of the tooth and causing cavities or more extensive decay.
Fluoride is also extremely useful for protecting children’s teeth, which have not fully developed and may not always receive the cleaning that they need at home; even when supervised during brushing time, it is possible for children to miss a spot or two in the mouth. It is for these reasons that fluoride treatments are usually strongly recommended for children.
Where To Receive Fluoride
To discover if your city has opted to put fluoride in the drinking water, you can call your local water district; it is currently estimated that 75% of drinking water in America contains fluoride.
Aside from drinking fluoridated water, you can use a toothpaste or mouthwash that contains fluoride to protect your enamel. Since 1960, there has been a considerable drop in people with cavities and tooth decay, thanks to the fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash that provides daily, at-home boosts of strength to the enamel.
You can also choose to have a fluoride treatment applied by a dental hygienist when you go to the dentist for your routine cleaning. During a fluoride treatment or application, your hygienist will place the fluoride solution (usually a gel or foam) into a tray for both your upper and lower arch of teeth and will have you bite down for a designated amount of time. You will then thoroughly rinse once the treatment is complete.
By reading this article, you have taken the next step in minding your oral health to discover the various benefits of fluoride, whether it be attained through drinking water, toothpaste or mouthwash, or fluoride treatments given by your dental hygienist. It is important to take part in preventative care of your teeth, and using fluoride is a great step in the right direction in order to strengthen enamel and prevent the decay of teeth.