Posted on: 9 February 2015
Regular fluoride treatments are an effective defense against tooth decay, and dentists usually recommend routine dental cleaning using fluoride to protect teeth against bacteria that corrodes tooth enamel and for the development of strong, healthy teeth.
Fluoride is naturally found in food and drinking water, but in insufficient quantities to prevent tooth decay, which is why fluoride treatments are sometimes required. Exposure to fluoride makes tooth enamel more resistant to acid, keeping tooth decay and cavities at bay while also reversing tooth corrosion that has already taken place.
Types of fluoride
There are two types of fluoride that can help protect your teeth against tooth decay. The first type is known as 'systemic' fluoride, and is found naturally in food and water although it can also be prescribed by a dentist in form of fluoride supplements.
Foods rich in this type of fluoride include meats, cheese and nuts, while your local water supply will most probably provide fluoridated water which washes over your teeth as you drink to protect against tooth decay.
Use of systemic fluoride supplements should be supervised by a dentist, as an overdose can result in fluorosis which causes white spots to form on the surface of your teeth. If you are at risk of tooth decay, you can purchase at-home fluoride supplements at your local drug store or talk to your dentist about a treatment plan that works for you.
'Topical' fluoride is the second type, and it is found in dental products such as toothpastes and mouth rinses. Every time you brush your teeth using fluoride toothpaste or mouth wash, fluoride soaks into teeth enamel, making them more resistant to decay. Dentists also use fluoride products to strengthen your teeth during routine dental cleanings.
How to know if you need special fluoride treatment
Drinking fluoridated water and brushing your teeth regularly using fluoride toothpaste is considered sufficient to protect your teeth against tooth decay. However, poor dental hygiene, infrequent dental visits and poor diet habits such as taking too much sugar can increase your risk of getting tooth decay.
If you have a history of tooth cavities or are taking medication that causes your mouth to dry, you should talk to your dentist about a fluoride treatment plan that will strengthen and protect your teeth against bacteria.
You may also require prescription fluoride supplements if you wear orthodontic appliances such as crowns or braces that trap a lot of bacteria, or have receded gums that allow bacteria to attack your teeth faster.Share