If you’ve been to a dental office even once in your life, you have likely heard the word fluoride. More specifically, you might have been given a fluoride treatment and told not to eat or drink anything for at least thirty minutes.
But have you ever wondered what fluoride is? Or what it does? Or why the dentist gives it to you at almost, if not every, checkup?
Germantown Dental Group would love to answer those questions for you!
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral with fantastic benefits when used for oral healthcare. In fact, in the 1940s, the United States started enhancing tap water with additional fluoride, and a nationwide decrease in tooth decay has been linked to this boost in fluoride content!
The American Dental Association calls fluoride “nature’s natural cavity fighter,” but how has it earned this title?
Well, first, we need to understand tooth decay. Tooth decay happens when bacteria and sugar combine to produce an acid that eats away at the teeth. When that acid begins eroding the calcium and phosphate minerals of the teeth, it’s called demineralization. This process is how cavities start!
Fluoride stops demineralization and strengthens the enamel (the thin outermost layer of the tooth anatomy) through remineralization. The result is a protective layer that is much more resistant to acid. If demineralization has yet to occur, fluoride still creates that fortified barrier and decreases the possibility of demineralization.
Bonus fact: In young children, consistent exposure to fluoride (in appropriate amounts) can help them develop enamel that is less likely to be initially damaged by acid.
Additional Fluoride Advantages
This mineral has more benefits than stronger enamel. Let’s take a look at three additional advantages of fluoride.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. For example, water that is not fluoride-enhanced still has fluoride in it! For patients with dental anxiety or who like to avoid products with tons of chemicals, fluoride treatment is a wonderful choice! It does not have harsh chemicals, suspicious-looking ingredients that you can’t pronounce, or harmful side effects to intimidate you or discourage treatment. You and your family can receive safe and effective oral healthcare without worry.
Saves You Money
Tooth decay can cause severe issues beyond cavities, such as pain, infection, gum disease, abscesses, and more! It is necessary to repair these concerns as soon as possible, but it can be pricey!
Expensive dental procedures are another reason a person’s oral health might decline. If you receive an estimate you cannot afford, you will likely avoid the dentist, which can make that bill double or triple as the condition(s) worsen over time. Fluoride treatment is one of the best ways to maintain healthy teeth and avoid shattering your piggy bank!
Readily Accessible Dental Care
Fortunately, fluoride is readily available through mouthwash, toothpaste, and water for those who cannot see a dental provider. Users can still prevent expensive dental costs and protect their teeth even if they cannot see a dentist or other oral healthcare provider. And, because it is a natural substance, they can use it with little to no worry.
Disadvantages of Fluoride
Unluckily, like with most things, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Overexposure to fluoride in children can lead to fluorosis, a condition that causes discoloration or irregularities in the teeth. Luckily, fluorosis is only cosmetic and does not change the function or health of the teeth or jaw! The better news is that it is difficult to reach this level of overexposure, but the best news is that it can likely be treated with professional whitening services or veneers.
Who Benefits From Fluoride Treatments?
Everyone! Those who might be particularly interested in fluoride treatment, though, are people who like snacks or have a sugary diet, inconsistent oral hygiene, limited access to oral healthcare, previous restorative dental work, or a personal or familial history of tooth decay.
Germantown Dental Group is Proud to Offer Fluoride Care!
How much fluoride a person requires is unique to each individual. Germantown Dental Group provides every patient with personalized care, so you can be sure you and your family are getting the best treatment possible for your needs.
Our team strives to give you excellent care so you can feel at ease and confident throughout your time with us. We know that trust begins with outstanding customer service and quality information.
We look forward to helping you achieve your smile goals!