Keep your Teeth Healthy with Topical Fluoride Applications at your Regular Dental Visits
Are you familiar with fluoride? From an early age, many of us have been told by our dentists about the importance of fluoride. But what is fluoride, why is it so important, and how do we best benefit from it? Fluoride has been called nature’s cavity fighter, and dentists say fluoride can be an important preventative tool in our ability to maintain a strong and healthy mouth. At Affinity Dental, we believe in the cavity-fighting power of fluoride. We encourage our patients to take advantage of fluoride as a proven preventative treatment, and many of our patients receive fluoride varnish applications during their regularly scheduled visits. Read on to learn more about fluoride, and how Affinity Dental can help you keep your mouth in optimal health.
Fluoride has been shown to have dental benefits for both children and adults. But what is fluoride, and how exactly does it protect teeth? Fluoride is a powerful, naturally-occurring mineral that can help prevent cavities by strengthening the enamel (the hard outer surface) of the tooth, making it stronger and better able to resist the acid that causes decay. By taking in fluoride, either systemically or topically, we can provide our mouths with an important tool in preventing cavities.
How do we get the fluoride we need? There are a few common ways we obtain fluoride, and some are more effective than others at preventing tooth decay. One common way to get the benefits of fluoride is to drink water with fluoride. Fluoride occurs naturally in most all water sources, rivers, lakes, wells and even the oceans. For the past 70 years, fluoride has also been added to public water supplies to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoridation of community water has been so effective, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention proclaimed community water fluoridation one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. Today, almost 75 percent of the U.S. population is served by fluoridated community water systems, and studies show water fluoridation continues to help prevent tooth decay by at least 25% in children and adults.
Fluoride taken in from fluoridated water, or from foods or dietary supplements, produces a “systemic” benefit. Systemic intake of fluoride can be effective at protecting teeth from decay, but another important way to take advantage of fluoride’s benefits is through topical fluoride applications. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, use mouthwash with fluoride, and receive fluoride applications at your dental visits, you receive a “topical” benefit to your teeth. Topical fluoride can have a significant impact, and since it was introduced in 1960, fluoridated toothpaste has made a notable difference in the number of cavities experienced in the United States. Brushing your teeth twice a day with an ADA-approved toothpaste containing fluoride can greatly benefit the overall health of your teeth and help prevent decay.
A professional fluoride application during a routine dental visit is another important way to strengthen your teeth with fluoride. At Affinity Dental, our dental hygienists recommend and treat a majority of our adult patients with fluoride varnish. We recommend fluoride in adults particularly for individuals with large silver fillings, or old crowns that can leak, which can allow decay to spread along the margins/edges of the filling. During your visit, our dental team can apply a fluoride varnish directly to your teeth, providing you with the topical benefit of fluoride. Topical fluoride applications can strengthen enamel, discourage cavities, and help teeth resist decay.
How does fluoride benefit our mouths and teeth? Fluoride provides an important benefit to our teeth, remineralization. Fluoride can rebuild weakened tooth enamel, strengthening it and making it better at resisting tooth decay. Fluoride can even reverse early signs of tooth decay. Fluoride has been shown to provide a beneficial effect to fully erupted teeth, teeth with fillings or decay, and even to teeth before they break through the gums.
At Affinity Dental, we provide general dentistry services, including fluoride treatment, designed to help you maintain optimal health in your mouth. We will talk with you about your specific needs, and we will work closely with you to develop an individualized plan that is best for you. Through routine cleanings, and preventative maintenance such as fluoride applications, Affinity Dental is here to help you take the best care of your mouth. Book an appointment with Affinity Dental and we will go above and beyond to meet your needs for a healthy smile. Call us at (619) 697-2800 today!