Fluoride is essential for cavity protection, and when our patients don't get enough of it, they can be at a higher risk for cavities. Cavities are caused by the bacteria in the mouth, and they can destroy the enamel. At Nicholas W. Feldman, DDS, MBA, we offer fluoride treatments for our youngest patients and those who don't have access to it from their water supply.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral found in nature and artificially added to the water supply in many American cities. Our teeth lose valuable minerals every day, but we also add them through the foods we eat and the water we drink. Demineralization of the tooth can cause the enamel to weaken and invite harmful bacteria to produce plaque. Our teeth are under constant attack from agents that can damage their structure. Fluoride is essential in protecting the outer layer of the teeth, the enamel. Once plaque and bacteria penetrate this layer, a cavity will form.
Who Needs Fluoride Treatments?
Fluoride is found in a city's water supply, in toothpaste, and mouthwash, but you can also get a fluoride treatment at our office. We usually recommend fluoride treatments at least once a year in children aged 6-months to 16-years-old or adults that have good oral health. The reason we do this is is because most children don't drink the required amount of water that would give them the fluoride they need to protect their teeth effectively. Moreover, children don't usually brush their teeth as recommended missing spots where plaque can build up. If you live in an area where the water is not fluoridated, we may also give you a fluoride treatment.
Other patients who can benefit from fluoride treatments are those who suffer from dry mouth due to health conditions or medications, those with the autoimmune disease known as Sjögren's syndrome, or those who are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy for cancer.
Gum disease can also expose more of the root of the tooth and make it vulnerable to decay. Patients with a propensity to cavities due to their genetic composition can also benefit from fluoride treatments.
How is Fluoride Applied?
We can apply highly concentrated fluoride as a gel, varnish or foal in our office. The varnish or another substance is brushed on the teeth or placed into a mouthguard that you will wear for several minutes. We will ask that you don't drink or eat anything for about 20-minutes following your fluoride treatment.
Are Fluoride Treatments Safe?
Fluoride has a bad reputation because there are some who believe it can cause cancer, even though there is no research that supports those theories conclusively. The American Dental Association (ADA) declared that using fluoride is safe and necessary for good oral health and developing teeth in young children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deemed the addition of fluoride to the water supply in the United States one of the top 10 most significant public health achievements of the 20th century.
If you have any questions or concerns about fluoride treatments, please call Nicholas W. Feldman, DDS, MBA at (907) 802-4519.