What Does Fluoride Do?
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay. In children under 6 years of age, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also helps speed remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults.
What treatments are available?
Walnut Ranch can apply fluoride to the teeth as a gel, foam, or varnish. These treatments contain a higher level of fluoride than the amount found in toothpastes and mouth rinses. Varnishes are painted on the teeth; foams are put into a mouth guard, which is applied to the teeth for one to four minutes; gels can be painted on or applied via a mouth guard.
Fluoride supplements are also available as liquids and tablets and can be prescribed by Dr. Joe Treanor.
Who can benefit from fluoride treatments?
People with certain conditions may be at increased risk of tooth decay and would therefore benefit from additional fluoride treatment. They include people with:
- Dry mouth conditions caused by diseases such as Sjögren’s syndrome, certain medications, and head and neck radiation treatment makes someone more prone to tooth decay. The lack of saliva makes it harder for food particles to be washed away and acids to be neutralized.
- Gum disease: gum disease, also called periodontitis, can expose more of your tooth and tooth roots to bacteria increasing the chance of tooth decay. Gingivitis is an early stage of periodontitis.
- History of frequent cavities: if you have one cavity every year or every other year, you might benefit from additional fluoride.
- Presence of crowns and/or bridges or braces: these treatments can put teeth at risk for decay at the point where the crown meets the underlying tooth structure or around the brackets of orthodontic appliances.