What is Fluoride? What Role Does it Play in Oral Health?
Oral hygiene is a critical component of one’s overall health well-being. Fluoride can both help prevent cavities and maintain strong and healthy teeth.
Fluoride is a vital mineral, essential for the maintenance of a tooth’s outer surface. The mineral absorbs into and strengthens tooth enamel and is essential in preventing the development of tooth decay, or dental cavities.
Cavities are areas of permanent damage to teeth that present as holes of varying depths. Once a cavity forms, a patient cannot reverse it. For this reason, staying consistent with an oral hygiene routine is critical to preventing the discomfort that comes with tooth decay. Specifically, maintaining a healthy intake of fluoride is an essential part of an effective oral hygiene routine.
Human teeth undergo a constant cycle of both demineralization and remineralization. Demineralization refers to the process by which a tooth loses minerals as plaque bacteria and sugars corrode the enamel. On the other hand, remineralization is the redeposition of fluoride, calcium and phosphate to the enamel from food.
Fluoride, in particular, helps teeth to become more resistant to acid wear and also plays an integral role in reversing early tooth decay. The mineral is especially crucial for young children, as it is vital in the development of healthy permanent teeth. While a dentist can determine the ideal course of action for an individual, many children receive a fluoride treatment at each dental cleaning.
Significantly, most American cities have fluoridated tap water supplies. However, individuals who drink mostly bottled water or use certain well water supplies can often struggle with consuming healthy amounts of fluoride.
How Can One Maintain a Healthy Fluoride Intake?
Drinking fluoridated water regularly in combination with using certain mouth rinses and fluoride toothpastes or other topical fluoride products can provide significant protection against tooth decay. Eating or drinking certain foods or beverages, such as grapes and black tea, can even offer additional fluoride. Patients also prevent tooth decay by taking advantage of professional fluoride supplementation treatments at their dentists’ offices.
Consuming fluoride at high levels, however, can lead to discoloration of the teeth. Such discoloration often comes as a result of the excessive consumption of naturally fluoridated well water. Young children are especially susceptible to this, as fluoride’s level of toxicity in high doses depends on a person’s weight.
What is Fluoride Treatment? Receiving Professional Fluoride Varnish Treatments at the Dentist’s Office
Both children and adults can supplement their intake of fluoride through professional treatments during routine dental appointments. These treatments usually involve the placement of a tray containing concentrated fluoride into a patient’s mouth. The tray will sit in the patient’s mouth for one minute to make teeth more resistant to developing cavities. However, dentists can often provide use a fluoride gel foam or varnish to achieve the same effect.
Patients typically must refrain from eating for a designated period of time after fluoride treatment for teeth. A fluoride treatment dentist may also give specific fluoride treatment rules, depending on a patient’s specific condition.
A wide range of medical conditions and other factors can leave one at a higher risk of developing tooth decay. For example, the lack of saliva in dry mouth cases does not allow bacteria to wash away easily. Radiation treatment and certain medications, for example, are common causes of dry mouth. In addition, gum disease can expose more of a tooth than is healthy and allow room for cavities to develop.
The presence of dental appliances such as crowns or bridges can complicate oral hygiene routines. Significantly, such pieces can allow decay to develop where they meet the teeth.
About Dr. Marino & Associates and Dr. Nassif & Associates
Have you been considering a professional fluoride treatment? The dentists from Dr. Marino & Associates and Dr. Nassif & Associates dedicate themselves to patients’ health. Patients from all over Northeast Ohio count on the team for leading general dental and cosmetic treatments. To list, patients count on Dr. Marino & Associates team for dental fluoride treatments, routine dental cleanings, dental implants, orthodontic care, emergency dental services, dentures, crowns and more.
Are you ready to schedule an appointment? To confirm your dental visit, simply book online.