Preventing tooth decay and achieving optimal oral health requires you to be consistent with a high-quality oral hygiene routine. According to the American Dental Association, this routine should include brushing twice per day, flossing at least once per day, and going to the dentist for checkups twice a year. Following these basic recommendations are essential if you want to have good oral health.
Another oral care recommendation you will receive as you talk to your dentist and explore the ADA website, is to include fluoride treatment as part of your oral care routine. There is a lot of debate surrounding the use of fluoride for teeth to help prevent decay and promote healthy teeth. Fluoride treatment, fluoride benefits for teeth, fluoride treatment for kids, and a long list of other fluoride-related topics have extensive research available to back the recommendations for fluoride use made by the CDC, ADA, and most dentists.
What is Fluoride Treatment?
Before you answer the question, ‘what is fluoride treatment?', it helps to know the basics of fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that can help prevent cavities and even repair teeth in the earliest stages of developing cavities. There are two main ways that you can get the fluoride you need to keep your teeth healthy: topically and systemically.
Topical fluoride treatment is the process of applying fluoride to the surface of your teeth. You can get topical fluoride treatment daily by using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. There are a variety of options for fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. All top brands offer fluoride options, and some offer fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes specifically for children. You can also get topical fluoride applied at the dentist. This type of application provides a much higher concentration of fluoride than what you find in over-the-counter options. In-office fluoride treatment is an option if you are at high risk for developing cavities, have a history of oral health problems, or meet certain criteria outlined by your dentist.
Systemic fluoride treatment involves ingesting (swallowing) fluoride. You can drink water that is supplemented with fluoride – fluoridated water – or take fluoride supplements. Fluoridated water can be found in some bottled water – you can look on the label to check if your favorite bottled water includes fluoride – and there are many states and local communities that add fluoride to the public water supply. The first city in the United States to add fluoride to the water supply started in 1945. The city saw a decrease in tooth decay in children, and those results prompted other areas to start providing residents with fluoridated water. Now, fluoridated water is common throughout the United States, although there is no federal mandate that requires water to be fluoridated. You can check with your local water supplier to learn if the water in your area is fluoridated. If you live in an area without fluoridated water, consider switching to a bottled water brand that includes fluoride. Fluoride supplements are typically only prescribed when a child is at high risk for tooth decay and has low exposure to other fluoride sources.
Benefits of Fluoride Treatment
There are several common questions about the benefits of fluoride. ‘What does fluoride do for your teeth?’ ‘Why is fluoride good for teeth?’ and ‘Why is fluoride important?’ The most important factor to remember about fluoride treatment is that it helps protect your teeth from decay. Fluoride is an important weapon in your fight against cavities. When it comes to fluoride and children, ingesting it through fluoridated water and fluoride supplements can help strengthen developing teeth from the inside. A combination of topical and systemic fluoride intake can provide you with the benefits of fluoride treatment.
Risks of Fluoride Treatment
Some people are concerned about the potential fluoride treatment risks. One of the most common risks of fluoride treatment is the development of dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis can cause you to develop white specks or streaks on your teeth. Dental fluorosis can happen when you take in an excess amount of fluoride. Babies and children under the age of six should not use fluoride products to help prevent over-exposure as their teeth develop. Another potential risk of high fluoride exposure is skeletal fluorosis that makes you more prone to bone fractures. It is important to remember that fluoride treatment risks are extremely low when you follow the official recommendations for using products that include fluoride and in-office treatment.
Fluoride Treatment for Kids
The effectiveness of fluoride application for children is something that you can learn about by looking at the history of fluoridated water in the United States. Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the first state in the US to put fluoride in the public water supply. Within five years, the school-aged children in Grand Rapids showed a significantly lower rate of cavities than the children in nearby towns that did not have fluoridated water. Children who are over the age of six can use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste each day to help prevent cavities. If your child is prone to getting cavities, the dentist may recommend in-office fluoride treatment and/or fluoride supplementation.
Are Fluoride Treatments Effective?
Are fluoride treatments effective? The incremental introduction of fluoride into the water supply around the country allowed researchers to measure the impact of fluoride on the development of cavities. As fluoride use increased around the country, the incidence and severity of cavities both declined. Using fluoride products and getting fluoride treatment at your dentist can be part of an effective dental care routine. However, it is important to remember that fluoride alone is not enough to protect your teeth from all threats. You still need to brush, floss, and go to the dentist regularly to protect against tooth decay and gum disease.
Should I get a fluoride treatment at the dentist? The answer to this question depends on the details of your oral health and history. If you are prone to cavities or have been treated for cavities in the past, then your dentist may recommend in-office fluoride treatment during your routine dental visits. Some dentists include in-office fluoride treatment during routine cleanings and exams. If you are interested in getting fluoride treatment at the dentist, ask about it the next time you go in for one of your preventative checkups.
Fluoride Treatment Dentist
Any dentist who provides routine dental care can be considered a fluoride treatment dentist. Prevention and treatment of decay and other dental problems are part of a general dentist's services. Your general dentist will apply in-office fluoride treatment when needed as part of your routine dental visits. If you do receive in-office fluoride treatment, your dentist will go over fluoride treatment aftercare with you. Fluoride treatment aftercare is usually simple – wait for at least thirty minutes after treatment before you eat or drink.
Fluoride Treatment Cost
How much does fluoride treatment cost? Fluoride treatment cost is small in comparison to what you will pay to be treated for tooth decay. Kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes that include fluoride are comparable in price to options that do not contain fluoride. Your dental insurance may include in-office fluoride treatment as part of your preventative care. If so, you may not have to pay anything out of pocket for in-office fluoride treatment. To find out the exact cost of fluoride treatment, you will need to have a conversation with your dentist and dental insurance provider.
Find the Best Fluoride Treatment Near You
Fluoride treatment is a standard option at dentists’ offices throughout the United States. It is quick and easy to find a local dentist who can provide fluoride treatment and a long list of other preventative services. The Find a Dentist Tool from Smile Generation takes all of the guesswork out of finding a dentist who is right for you. You can search for dentists based on location and/or specialty. There is no need to spend hours looking through online searches and reviews that come from unknown sources. On the Smile Generation website, you can search through a network of dentists who come highly recommended. You can also gain access to reviews that are posted by verified patients. Save time and frustration by searching for a dentist through a site that focuses solely on ensuring you have access to the dental care you want and need.