While other minerals are beneficial for teeth as well, fluoride is the one that helps prevent tooth decay. Fluoride makes a tooth more resistant to acid from sugars and plaque bacteria and can reverse some instances of early decay. Besides being present in certain foods and water, fluoride can be applied through mouth rinses and fluoridated toothpastes bought over-the-counter or with a doctor’s prescription.
Dentists can also apply fluoride to teeth in gel-form, foam-form or varnish-form, in dosages much more effective than over-the-counter formulas. Methods for each form differ, with gel being painted on or applied via a mouth guard, foams being put into a mouth guard to remain in contact with teeth for one to four minutes, and varnishes being painted on teeth.
Fluoride supplements are also available as tablets or liquids but must be prescribed by your dentist, family doctor, or pediatrician.
Children between the ages of six months and sixteen years, when primary and permanent teeth are being formed, need fluoride to not only fight tooth decay but to strengthen developing teeth as well. Other people with certain conditions that may increase their risk of tooth decay can also benefit from additional fluoride treatments, including those with dry mouth conditions (allergy medication side effects, Sjogren’s syndrome, anxiety medication, and high blood pressure medications), gum disease (gingivitis), a history of frequent cavities, and presence of crowns and/or bridges or braces.
Our doctors offer a wide range of options for fluoride supplementation needs and applications. At your next dental appointment at Windy Hill Dental Associates, make sure to ask how fluoride treatments can improve the health of your teeth.