What is a fluoride treatment?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that builds strong teeth and prevents cavities. It’s been an essential oral health treatment for decades. Fluoride supports the health of the outer protective layer of each tooth, known as tooth enamel. It also fights the bacteria that harm teeth and gums.
Fluoride is especially helpful if you’re at high risk of developing dental cavities. Cavities occur when bacteria build up on teeth and gums and form a sticky layer of plaque. Plaque produces an acid that erodes teeth and gum tissue. If plaque breaks down the enamel layer, bacteria can infect and harm the nerves and blood at the core of the tooth.
What happens during a professional fluoride treatment?
Dentists provide professional fluoride treatments in the form of a highly concentrated rinse, foam, gel, or varnish. The dental fluoride varnish treatment may be applied with a swab, brush, tray, or mouthwash.
These treatments have much more fluoride than what’s in your water supply or toothpaste. A fluoride varnish treatment is a highly concentrated form of fluoride that is applied directly to the teeth. They only take a few minutes to apply. You may be asked to avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after the treatment so the fluoride can fully absorb.
How much fluoride do you need?
Optimal fluoride intake comes from food, water, and supplements. The following daily amounts of fluoride are recommended:
Birth to 3 years of age: 0.1 to 1.5 milligrams (mg)
4 to 6 years of age: 1 to 2.5 mg
7 to 10 years of age: 1.5 to 2.5 mg
Adolescents and adults: 1.5 to 4 mg
A professional fluoride treatment at the dentist is recommended every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on your oral health. If you’re at high risk for cavities, your dentist may also prescribe a special fluoride rinse or fluoride varnish gel treatment to use regularly at home.
You can receive fluoride in two ways.
1. Via your daily dose of dietary fluoride in the following foods:
- food cooked in water
- fish eaten with their bones
- infant formula
2. Topically from toothpaste and treatments at the dentist.
Fluoride for children
If your child is under 3 years old, they should only brush their teeth with close supervision. Apply only a thin layer of fluoride toothpaste to their toothbrush. The toothpaste should cover less than half of the bristles or be no bigger than a grain of rice.
Fluoride toothpaste the size of a pea is recommended for children ages 3 to 6 years old. You should watch children to ensure they spit toothpaste out while brushing.
What are the benefits of fluoride?
Before fluoride was added to toothpaste, studies found that people with fluoridated water were 40 to 60 percent less likely to get cavities.
Fluoride treatment works by restoring minerals to tooth surfaces where bacteria may have eroded the enamel. It can also inhibit the growth of harmful oral bacteria and further prevent cavities. While it’s not able to remove decay from teeth, it can create a strong blanket over its surface. This will help stop decay from seeping into deeper parts of your teeth.
Fluoride benefits both children and adults. The earlier children are exposed to fluoride, the less likely they are to develop cavities. A large study found that children and adolescents who received fluoride treatments for one year were 43 percent less likely to have tooth decay and cavities.
In need of a fluoride varnish treatment? Contact us today at 780-484-5918 to book your consultation. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.