One way to reduce the likelihood that your children or adults will develop cavities is to get fluoride treatments from the dentist. This proven method protects your teeth from the bacteria that cause cavities, enabling them to remain healthy for much longer.
The Ongoing Battle
Your teeth are in a place where there is a constant ongoing battle. Some of the bacteria in your mouth produce acid whenever you or your children consume sugar or carbohydrates. This acid is what causes cavities. It removes the important minerals from your teeth that make them weak – a process called demineralization.
Remineralization occurs when you supply the needed minerals through the foods and water that you eat or drink. Your teeth especially need calcium and phosphate, and the fluoride helps your teeth to reabsorb it from the minerals that are in your saliva.
When the balance between what is lost from the acid and what is regained from the minerals you consume, cavities will develop. There will be some erosion of the tooth enamel, which will eventually lead to sensitive teeth and cavities. Coating the tooth with fluoride will speed up the reabsorption rate, making them more resistant to the acid.
Applying the Fluoride
When getting fluoride treatments at the dentist office, the dentist may use a variety of forms to apply it. It may be the form of a rinse, a gel, foam, or as a varnish. They can also be applied in different ways, but brushing it on is the most common.
Because of the protective capability of fluoride, these treatments, which are stronger than you can get elsewhere, are beneficial to anyone – children or adults. Although the treatment cannot heal cavities, it can prevent them from becoming worse. The treatments typically only take a couple of minutes. Afterward, the dentist may ask you to come back for another treatment at intervals of three, six, or twelve months – depending on the condition of your teeth at the time.
Risk Factors for Cavities
Several factors will make you or your children more susceptible to getting cavities. They include:
- Improper care of teeth
- A poor diet
- A dry mouth
- Restorations (fillings)
- Weak enamel
- Exposed roots of teeth
- Little or no professional dental care
- Excessive drug or alcohol use.
Dry mouth is a real problem to those who have it. This is because the teeth are not getting the benefit of being remineralized as they should be because of the lack of saliva. The bacteria and acid are also not being washed away, enabling it to multiply faster and produce more acid – and a faster rate of dental erosion. It also may enable gum disease to spread faster.
When used as directed, fluoride is safe. Too much of it, however, can be harmful. Parents need to supervise their child’s use – when under six years old – for their protection.
The dentists at Global Family Dental can provide you and your children with fluoride treatments. These treatments are part of our preventive program to help teeth stay beautiful longer.