Fluoride is a mineral that has been found highly-effective in the prevention of tooth decay. When fluoride reaches the teeth, it absorbs into the enamel. This process helps replenish lost calcium and phosphorous to maintain strong teeth. While fluoride is found naturally in water sources and in some foods like fish, meat, eggs, and tea, not everyone gets enough fluoride in their diet. Children and adults can supplement their fluoride consumption with fluoride treatments available in dental offices.
Fluoride treatments are often recommended to children and adults to protect teeth from decay. Some patients may be at a higher risk of cavities, including individuals who have poor oral hygiene, eating disorders, active cavities, drug or alcohol abuse problems, poor diet, exposed root surfaces, existing restorations, tooth enamel defects, or lack of regular professional dental care.
Professional fluoride treatments typically take just a few minutes. The fluoride formula may be in the form of a foam, gel, or varnish. A cotton swab or brush is dipped into the formula and applied directly to the tooth surfaces. In some instances, the formula is used as a rinse or poured into a tray that is held in the mouth for several minutes.
Following a fluoride treatment, you should not eat, drink, or rinse for at least 30 minutes. This wait time is essential to allow the teeth to fully absorb the fluoride. Our dentist in Matthews, NC may recommend fluoride treatments every three, six, or 12 months, depending on the state of your oral health.
In addition to having regular fluoride treatments, it’s recommended that you use toothpaste with fluoride. To maintain healthy teeth and gums, brush twice a day. Children under three years old should use no more than a grain of rice-size amount of toothpaste. Children ages 3 to 6 need no more than a pea-size amount of toothpaste. Parents should always supervise their children when brushing to ensure that the right amount is used.