Everything You Need to Know About Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
Fluoride is beneficial if you’re at high risk of developing teeth decay and other oral problems. Teeth decay occurs when bacteria build up continuously for months and years. This can lead to the formation of sticky plaque which will further erode teeth and your gums. Once the plaque breaks, it can cause a very problematic gum infection.
Fluoride works in two ways:
Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years. It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
Recent history of dental decay.
Known Fluoride Side Effects
Fluoride may be useful but it’s just like other chemicals. Consuming too much fluoride can lead to serious, life-threatening problems. Due to fluoride’s toxicity, the dentist will only prescribe small and measurable doses. Thankfully, due to the advent of technology and dental awareness, fluoride poisoning has become a very rare occurrence.
Here are the side effects of fluoride overexposure:
- unsightly white specks on adult teeth
- teeth staining and pitting
- bone homeostasis complications
- brittle bones
And here are the side effects of fluoride overdose:
- watery diarrhea
- tiredness or lethargy
- excessive sweating
At the very worst, fluoride overdose can lead to death. If you have a fluoride solution at your home, remember to keep it out of reach of children.
Fluoride Treatment and You
Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis. If you’re confised about some oral health specifics, do not hesitate to ask your dentist. Personal reseach is great but you should rely on someone with years of professional training and experience. It’s for the best!
Here at Lancaster Dental, your reliable Kitchener dentist, we want you to have the best fluoride treatment. Contact us today to know more or if you want to book an appointment!