According to the American Dental Association, after brushing and flossing, fluoride is the single most effective means of preventing cavities and tooth decay.
Tooth enamel is capable of absorbing fluoride, a natural mineral, and using it to create a wall of protection. Originally, municipalities added this mineral to the water supply, and it provided an automatic level of protection to users who would strengthen their teeth simply by drinking water.
Why Sumter, South Carolina Children Need Fluoride Treatments
As children grow and develop, fluoride plays two key roles. First, it fights cavities and tooth decay. But more important for your children, it provides a significant level of strength for developing teeth.
Acids, such as those found in plaque bacteria, pull minerals from the tooth’s enamel. When the teeth are demineralized in this way, they become much more susceptible to decay. Fluoride remineralizes the teeth, increasing their resistance. In fact, fluoride treatments can even reverse decay in its early stages.
For children under age 6, topical fluoride mineralizes developing adult teeth in such a way that they become especially resistant to demineralization for the rest of your child’s life.
Do Adults Need Fluoride Treatments?
Certainly, children require an extra level of diligence in strengthening and protecting their growing teeth. But adults need a little help as well.
Although fluoridation does little for developing teeth after about age 6, it continues to fight tooth decay for the rest of our lives. It disrupts acid damage and remineralizes teeth for adults as well as children.
Fluoride Treatment Types
Fluoride, technically known as sodium fluoride, is available in a variety of applications — other than tap water, of course.
It’s probably in your toothpaste and possibly your mouthwash. Over-the-counter products, however, aren’t strong enough to provide significant benefit. The dentist may suggest a prescription-strength version of fluoridated mouthwash for you to use at home.
The most effective method of fluoride treatment is found in a fluoridated gel or varnish that we literally paint onto your teeth after your dental cleaning. After the product has been applied, be sure to follow the hygienist’s instructions for eating and drinking. After just a few hours, your protection is in place.
This approach to fluoridation is quick, inexpensive and highly effective for protecting your pearly whites. Although fluoride supplements are available, we recommend the varnish application unless special circumstances indicate otherwise.
Don’t leave your teeth — or your children’s teeth — vulnerable to damage from acids and decay. Contact Sunshine Dental today to schedule fluoride treatments for the entire family.