This makes it hard for people to maintain their beautiful smiles. Luckily, dentists perform many dental procedures to maintain healthy teeth, like fluoride treatment.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities and build strong teeth. It has been used to prevent tooth decay in America for over 70 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fluoridated water has been shown to reduce tooth decay by 25%.
Is fluoride treatment good for teeth? Here’s everything you need to know about fluoride treatment, its cost, benefits, side effects, and more.
What’s Fluoride Treatment All About?
Fluoride prevents tooth decay by strengthening the tooth’s resistance to acid attacks from bacteria and sugars in your mouth. It also reverses the effects of early decay.
Dentists often recommend fluoride treatments to reduce the chances of cavities destroying your teeth. They offer fluoride treatment in four forms: varnish, foam, gel, or solution. All of them have high levels of fluoride.
Dentists use fluoride similar to those found in most toothpaste brands; the only difference is that teeth absorb fluoride faster and at higher levels through fluoride treatments than brushing teeth.
What are the Benefits of Fluoride Treatments?
Fluoride improves oral health and offers many benefits:
- It reduces the risk of cavities.
- It kills bacteria responsible for dental caries or cavities.
- It allows your body to absorb calcium and phosphate properly, which helps rebuild your teeth’s enamel.
- It helps prevent gum disease.
These are just a few benefits of fluoride treatment that help keep your teeth in their best condition, saving you time and money on regular dental visits.
What Are the Side Effects of Fluoride?
While it is essential to take care of your teeth, it is equally important not to overdo it. Excessive fluoride causes side effects like:
Tooth discoloration or fluorosis is the most common side effect of fluoride. It causes white streaks and other tooth discolorations. It occurs when a child consumes too much fluoride while their baby and adult teeth are developing below the gums. It often develops in children from birth to eight years old.
The United States Public Health Service has established guidelines for how much fluoride the community drinking water should have to prevent tooth decay and reduce the risk of developing dental fluorosis. The current level is 0.7 mg/liter.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents and caregivers use a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste when their child’s first tooth erupts. It helps protect a child’s tooth from decay but doesn’t put them at risk of fluorosis if they accidentally swallow the toothpaste.
Fluoride is harmful if it’s incorrectly used or used in excessive amounts. Luckily, this is not common.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends professional fluoride varnish for children younger than six years since they are more likely to swallow gels or foams that can cause nausea and vomiting.
Although rare, some people develop an allergic reaction to fluoride.
Fluoride Treatment Types
Various fluoride treatments are available to improve the overall health of your teeth. These include:
Varnishes last longer than all other types of fluoride treatments. They stick to teeth because of their high fluoride content.
Fluoride rinses come in a solution that you can gargle. You will need to spit it out afterward.
Gels and Foams
Dentists use a small tray filled with fluoride gel or foam and place them on your teeth for a few minutes.
You can also find many over-the-counter fluoride options you can purchase if you don’t have the time or money to visit the dentist. However, these may not be as effective as professional fluoride treatments.
How Much Are Fluoride Treatments?
Fluoride treatment costs vary depending on the condition of your mouth. Dentists may also perform other procedures before they recommend a fluoride treatment. You don’t need to worry about spending too much; fluoride treatments are less expensive than most dental procedures. You can always ask your dentist about its cost before you get the procedure.
What Can I Eat After A Fluoride Treatment?
Your dentist may ask you to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least half an hour after your fluoride treatment. It’s crucial to follow these instructions; otherwise, your fluoride treatment may lose some of its effectiveness.
Allowing the fluoride to coat your teeth thoroughly is the best way to protect your teeth’s enamel from cavity-causing bacteria.
Most fluoride treatments are safe, and their benefits outweigh their side effects. The most likely source of harm is the intake of excessive amounts of fluoride.
This doesn’t mean all fluoride treatments are safe for everyone to use at all times. Patients with tooth decay or at high risk should talk to their dentist at Century Dental.