The benefits of fluoride are well-known. This naturally-occurring mineral helps to strengthen tooth enamel, making it an important part of maintaining good dental health. In fact, it has proven to be so effective that levels of tooth decay have been reduced by about 25% in children and adults. It can be found in foods that we regularly consume as well as in public sources of water (most major cities fluoridate their water supplies). For an extra boost of this beneficial mineral, consider fluoride treatments.
Not only does fluoride help to protect the teeth from decay, but it can also repair any decay that has occurred. Every day, minerals are lost from the tooth enamel in a process called demineralization. This process is balanced out with a process called remineralization in which minerals such as calcium, phosphate, and – you guessed it – fluoride are deposited onto the teeth to rebuild the enamel. This strengthens it again to fight against acid-producing bacteria found in plaque, even reducing the bacteria’s ability to produce destructive acids in the first place.
Fluoride can be applied to the teeth in a number of ways. A simple way to get a daily dose of fluoride is to use fluoridated toothpaste when brushing at home, as well as a fluoridated mouthwash. Topical fluoride treatments are available at the dentist office. They are called topical because they are applied to the surface of the teeth as a varnish, gel, or foam, rather than being ingested in food or water. This treatment can be more effective than other methods because it contains the highest concentration of fluoride.
Patients of all ages can benefit from fluoride treatments. It is especially beneficial for children between six months and 16 years as it greatly decreases the chances of developing tooth decay or cavities.