Fluoride is a mineral added to city water in most American cities and is found naturally in soil, air, water, and other living organisms. Chewing causes wear and tear of the enamel, and fluoride therapy is one of the most important tools New Heights Dental & Braces uses to prevent cavities and tooth decay.
What Causes Demineralization?
Demineralization happens every day because of the foods we eat and what we drink. Plaque grows on the teeth and gums for many reasons, including poor oral hygiene and lack of dental care. However, there are also medical conditions that can cause demineralization to accelerate.
Things like sugar can damage teeth and cause cavities. Sugars produce acids that attack the healthy tissues of the tooth and result in tooth decay. Without essential minerals such as fluoride and calcium, the enamel on the tooth becomes weak and more prone to decay.
Where Is Fluoride Found?
Most cities in the United States, and many around the world, add fluoride to the water supply at a level that will help the population prevent cavities. This practice was named one of the ten most significant public health achievements of the 20th century by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If you drink the recommended amount of tap water (about 2 liters per day), you should have enough fluoride in your system to help your oral health.
Toothpaste manufacturers add fluoride to their products to protect your teeth from cavities.
Fluoride treatment is recommended for patients who live in areas where the water is not fluoridated. Young patients up to 16 years of age and those who either don't drink the recommended amount of fluoridated water or don't have good oral hygiene habits receive fluoride therapy more often than adult patients who live in areas where fluoridated water is available.
Fluoride therapy consists of the application of a varnish or gel to the teeth for a few minutes and is done in our office. There is no pain with these treatments, but you may be asked not to eat or drink anything for about 20-minutes. Sometimes we also use a mouthguard full of foam for our treatments. These are quicker than the traditional method of using a brush to apply the gel and only require a few minutes.
The frequency of fluoride therapy will depend on the condition of your teeth, whether you have access to fluoridated water, and how prone you are to cavities. Most of our young patients get the treatment once a year.
It is important to mention that only a pea sizes amount of toothpaste is necessary for brushing your teeth and you should supervise children younger than 6 years old because they will likely swallow the toothpaste. Toothpaste manufacturers have non-fluoridated children's toothpaste available.
Who Benefits From Fluoride Therapy?
Other than our younger patients, people with certain conditions can benefit from fluoride therapy and may need them more frequently. These include people who have:
Fluoride is one of the most important tools we have at our disposal here at New Heights Dental & Braces. If you have any questions or concerns about fluoride therapy, please call us at (210) 625-4599.
New Heights Dental & Braces
San Antonio, TX 78209
Convenient parking is available directly in front of our office.
T: (210) 625-4599
F: (210) 828-3205
We look forward to seeing you smile!