Fluoride is a mineral that can be found naturally in many foods and water. It helps to strengthen enamel, protecting against tooth decay. If not enough of the mineral is consumed through food and water to effectively protect teeth, fluoride can be applied directly to the teeth through fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinses. It can also be applied at the doctor’s office. Schedule your fluoride treatment in Sugar Land, TX today!
Fluoride intake is important for everyone – adults and children – but is most critical for infants and children between the ages of six months and 16 years, as these are the years in which the primary and permanent teeth are developing. People who are at higher risk for tooth decay can also benefit from fluoride treatments.
The enamel of the teeth is made of closely-packed mineral crystals which are broken down every day in a process called demineralization. Minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate help to build the enamel back up in a process called remineralization. Loss of minerals without a balance of repairing the enamel results in tooth decay. Receiving a fluoride treatment at the dentist office (called a topical fluoride as it is absorbed by making contact with the outside of the teeth) helps to speed remineralization and strengthens the enamel. It also helps to stop plaque-causing bacteria from making acids.
The concentration of fluoride in dental office treatments is higher than in over-the-counter mouthwashes or toothpaste. These treatments are chemically different and stay on the teeth longer. To apply the fluoride, the teeth must first be clean. Fluoride can be applied as a gel, foam, or varnish. The teeth are dried so that the fluoride does not become diluted. Fluoride gels and foams are applied via a tray that looks like a mouth guard. The tray is worn for one to four minutes. A fluoride varnish can be painted directly onto teeth, offering the advantage of targeting specific teeth that are most likely to develop cavities. Eating, drinking, and smoking are off limits for 30 minutes after the fluoride treatment to help increase the fluoride’s contact with the teeth.
Think that you may benefit from fluoride treatment in Sugar Land, TX? Schedule your appointment with us today!