Many people think that fluoride treatments are only for kids. After all, most dental insurances only cover them up until the age of 18. However, a growing amount of research is beginning to suggest that everyone can benefit from a fluoride treatment—especiallyadults who are cavity prone. Read on to find out if you’re at a higher risk of tooth decay and if you should ask your dentist about fluoride treatments at your next dental checkup.
What Is Fluoride and How Does It Work?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that has long been used to help fight tooth decay. When introduced into your saliva or onto your teeth, it gets absorbed by your enamel. Once there, it helps to strengthen your teeth by replacing the minerals the enamel has lost from exposure to plaque and bacteria. It also combines with calcium and phosphorus to create an incredibly durable substance called fluorapatite, which fortifies your teeth against decay.
Fluoride Treatments: Not Just for Kids Anymore
At first, experts believed that fluoride mainly worked to strengthen teeth as they developed, which is why treatments we aimed towards helping younger smiles. Adults relied on other sources of fluoride like toothpaste, rinses, and tap water. However, recent studies show that fluoride treatments can help reduce decay in teeth of all ages and may be particularly helpful to adults who are at a higher risk of cavities.
Who Can Benefit from Fluoride Treatments?
Fluoride treatments are especially beneficial for adults who are prone to tooth decay. While a few cavities can be slightly annoying and uncomfortable, being cavity prone means more fillings, weaker teeth, and even a higher chance of infected teeth. Unfortunately, many people have an increased risk of tooth decay, like those who:
- Have chronic dry mouth: Certain medications and health conditions can result in a lack of saliva, which is your body’s natural defense against cavities.
- Experience tooth sensitivity: When your enamel becomes weakened, your teeth become sensitive. Fluoride treatment can help rebuild your softened enamel.
- Suffer from gum recession: If your gums pull away from your teeth, they expose the roots of your teeth and leave them vulnerable to decay-causing bacteria.
- Wear braces or have dental crowns or bridges: Fluoride can help protect the vulnerable margins and small spaces created by orthodontic work and dental restorations.
- Have crooked or misshapen teeth: Teeth that are overcrowded, oddly shaped, or naturally grooved are especially susceptible to accumulating bacteria and developing cavities.
Not all adults need fluoride treatments. Hopefully, regular dental checkups, great oral hygiene, and the fluoride in your toothpaste and water are enough to keep your smile cavity-free. However, if you have trouble controlling tooth decay, ask your dentist if a fluoride treatment is right for you!
About the Author
One of the best ways to prevent cavities is to get a dental checkup regularly, which is why Dr. Matthew Nawrocki of Orange Park, FL encourages all his patients to come in every six months. Not only can he thoroughly and comfortably remove any built-up plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your mouth, but he also offers sealants and fluoride treatments for those who need them as well. If you are prone to tooth decay, feel free to contact him about these services via his website or at (904) 272-1588.