For most dental offices, fluoride treatments fall under preventative dentistry; procedures performed to prevent further dental issues. But what exactly are the benefits of fluoride treatments, and why are they often performed in modern dental practices? Let's look at these procedures to see why they are essential to oral hygiene.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, discharged into the environment in soil and water. Eggs and some meats also contain fluoride. Additionally, leaders in many municipalities began adding fluoride to drinking water in the 1940s after reviewing evidence that the mineral could protect teeth against tooth decay.
The tooth protection offered by fluoride is substantial at any age but is most effective when teeth are actively growing between ages 6 to 16. Introducing fluoride at this time allows the mineral to bond with tooth enamel, making teeth more resistant to decay.
Erosion of healthy tooth enamel by plaque and bacteria leaves the tooth vulnerable to cavities or holes. Untreated cavities will grow, eroding more of the tooth and eventually causing toothaches, possible infection, and extraction.
Acids in the foods and drinks that we consume cause enamel breakdown of the teeth. Certain medications and health conditions can also disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria that make up a healthy mouth biome.
Fluoride varnish treatments reinforce the teeth by providing the minerals to keep them strong, making them less likely to develop decay and cavities. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is vital to remineralizing damaged teeth.
Remineralizing teeth can take several months, and your dental care professional can guide you through the process as efficiently and effectively as possible,
Dealing with tooth sensitivity can make eating and drinking an exercise in evasive warfare as you navigate away from foods and drinks that lead to searing mouth pain. Cracked teeth, worn-out enamel, and exposed tooth roots are some of the common causes of this condition, but they can also result from untreated gum disease.
Certain gastrointestinal conditions like bulimia or GERD routinely expose the teeth to powerful acids from the stomach, wearing away the outer coating of the teeth, exposing nerves, and increasing sensitivity.
Fluoride treatments applied to sensitive areas of teeth can strengthen the tooth and reduce sensitivity and pain. If tooth sensitivity is ongoing, it’s best to discuss the matter with your dentist, who can confirm that the sensitivity is not resulting from a more acute condition.
As discussed earlier, tooth enamel is the first line of defense for keeping teeth healthy and strong. Minerals in saliva and fluoride provide materials necessary for tooth enamel to remain healthy and in a constant state of repair to counter the daily threats faced each day.
Calcium and phosphate work with fluoride to form fluorapatite, a compound found in teeth and bone that makes them durable. This substance makes up tooth enamel and is more sturdy than human bone.
Along with cutting back on sugar and eating more whole foods, fluoride treatments help the body build and maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the mouth. The mouth and gut biome is responsible for extracting nutrients from food to power the body and keeping the immune system in shape to fight off illness and disease.
Staying up to date with preventative dental care, including recommended fluoride treatments, helps keep the teeth and mouth in good shape. This healthy habit has benefits that extend throughout the entire body, helping to keep it active and free of disease.