Have you ever wondered why most of the toothpastes you find at the store contain fluoride? It’s because that decades of research have shown that teeth that are regularly exposed to fluoride are less likely to develop cavities. This mineral is especially beneficial for children, as it can aid in the formation of strong, healthy adult teeth before they erupt. During your little one’s next appointment, we can take the time to perform a quick fluoride treatment so that their smile will be even more well-protected over the next six months. Call us today to schedule an appointment and ask about the use of fluoride at our office.
Tooth enamel is made of calcium and phosphate, which are also found in your saliva. Eating foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates causes the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids that can weaken the enamel and cause it to lose some of its calcium and phosphate. Saliva can add these minerals back to the teeth to reverse the damage to an extent. Fluoride can mix with the calcium and phosphate in saliva to form a substance called fluorapatite, which can strengthen the teeth even further and improve their resistance to decay.
Most people get plenty of fluoride by drinking tap water or brushing their teeth. However, some people do not get sufficient amounts of fluoride through their daily routine, and their teeth may be more vulnerable to cavities as a result. Hence, fluoride treatments are often recommended as a precaution to prevent tooth decay.
For children with still developing teeth, fluoride is even more important. By combining with calcium and phosphate, it can contribute to the development of the permanent teeth that are still under the gums. Once these teeth erupt, they will be less prone to decay. And of course, the fluoride will continue to play a role in protecting the teeth after they’ve already emerged.
A fluoride treatment can be performed after we’ve examined and cleaned your child’s teeth during one of their biannual checkups. We’ll use a gel that contains a highly concentrated amount of fluoride – more than can typically be found in toothpastes and mouth rinses. The gel will be carefully painted onto your little one’s teeth; this only takes a few minutes, and your child will remain comfortable the entire time. After the treatment is complete, we will instruct your child not to eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes. This is because the teeth need time to absorb the fluoride to get the best possible protection. We may provide additional instructions such as not brushing the teeth for the next 4 to 6 hours; we’ll make sure that you’re fully informed about what you’ll need to do to take care of your little one’s teeth following their appointment.