The best way to understand the role fluoride plays in dental health is to think about the daily shifts taking place in your enamel, the outermost layer of your teeth. The bacteria in plaque and sugars are constantly working to remove minerals from your tooth enamel.
At the same time, minerals like calcium, phosphate, and fluoride are constantly being deposited onto enamel to keep it healthy and strong. Your risk of dental decay rises when the mineralization process cannot keep pace with the demineralization process.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water and many food products. Fluoride helps protect your enamel from demineralization and also speeds mineralization.
You can take in fluoride from water and food sources, which is known as systemic fluoride. But applying fluoride treatments directly to the surface of the teeth ensures that you get the best level of protection possible.
Fluoride is especially important for kids because they are still learning how to take great care of their teeth. Kids also tend to eat more sticky, chewy, or sugary foods than adults, leaving them at a greater risk for decay.
Here are some additional reasons you might benefit from fluoride varnish treatments:
Ask your dentist if fluoride varnish treatment is a good fit for your needs.
In years past, getting a fluoride treatment involved swishing a solution in your mouth or wearing a tray filled with fluoride foam for several minutes. Today, having fluoride treatments applied is far easier and more effective.
During your visit, your dentist paints a fluoride varnish on all surfaces of your teeth. The varnish hardens immediately and begins delivering fluoride to your enamel. Best of all, fluoride varnish treatments last for around six months, providing the protection you can count on.
You can eat and drink immediately after your visit. Try to avoid chewy, crunchy, or sticky foods for a few hours to give the varnish a chance to fully “cure.” If your dentist feels you need additional fluoride support, you may receive a prescription for an at-home mouthwash, gel, or an antibacterial rinse.
For more information about fluoride varnish treatments and other preventive dentistry tools, call or click to set up your next one-on-one visit at William Lessne, D.D.S. & Bilal Chaudhry D.D.S.