DENTISTS MAKE a pretty big deal about fluoride and how good it is for your teeth — there’s a reason we offer fluoride treatments at our Libertyville practice. Truly, fluoride is the best cavity fighter out there, helping our teeth stay healthy and strong! But how exactly does fluoride do such an awesome job at keeping our mouths cavity-free?
Fluoride Prevents and Repairs Tooth Decay
The harmful bacteria in plaque produce acids that seep into tooth enamel and break it down. This process of breaking down enamel is what causes cavities over time. But where plaque breaks down the tooth, fluoride builds it up! Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, protects teeth from cavity-causing bacteria by making tooth enamel more resistant to bacteria’s acid attacks.
Fluoride also helps repair tooth decay in its early stages by building up the tooth in a process called remineralization. This cavity-fighting mineral even reduces the ability of plaque bacteria to produce acid in the first place!
The Power of Fluoride
Fluoride is like a knight in shining armor for your teeth, protecting them from the onslaught of harmful bacteria and acids. This mighty mineral works its magic in several ways:
- Strengthens Tooth Enamel: Fluoride helps to remineralize and strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay. Enamel is your teeth’s first line of defense, and fluoride fortifies it against the corrosive effects of acid-producing bacteria.
- Prevents Tooth Decay: Fluoride inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. This reduces the production of acids that can lead to tooth decay. As a result, it helps prevent cavities and the need for costly and uncomfortable dental work.
- Repairs Early Decay: In the early stages of tooth decay, fluoride can actually reverse the damage. This process, known as remineralization, can halt the progression of cavities and restore the minerals lost from the enamel.
Fluoride Intake Is Important at All Ages
Exposure to fluoride can be especially beneficial for infants and children. Between the ages of six months and 16 years, fluoride becomes incorporated into the developing permanent teeth, protecting them from cavity-causing bacteria.
However, adults and children alike need to get enough fluoride to protect their teeth. Just as important as strengthening developing teeth is fighting tooth decay, which fluoride will help you do even after your permanent teeth have come in.
Increased exposure to fluoride can be beneficial for people with certain health conditions. For example, if you have dry mouth, gum disease or a history of frequent cavities, we often recommend additional fluoride treatments.
Fluoride Treatments at Premier Family Dentistry
The fluoride treatments we offer involve applying a high-concentration fluoride gel, foam, or varnish directly to your teeth. Your dentist or dental hygienist will use a brush or a swab to cover the tooth surfaces. After a short application time, you’ll be asked to avoid eating or drinking for about 30 minutes to allow the fluoride to fully penetrate your enamel. This treatment is particularly beneficial for children, those with a high risk of cavities, or patients with dry mouth.
Tooth Decay Is Preventable
The take-home message is this: fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. If you have any questions about fluoride or are interested in fluoride treatments, call us or come in to our Libertyville practice. These treatments help prevent tooth decay, strengthen enamel, and keep your smile radiant and healthy. You can learn more about our practice by checking our business page, and make sure to get directions before heading our way.