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Fluoride and the Health of Your Mouth

July 18, 2013

One of the most important things everyone should use is fluoride to help keep their mouth healthy.  Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that strengthens teeth and will help prevent tooth decay.  Sometimes fluoride is found naturally in some water sources in small amounts, otherwise you can have it in many toothpastes, mouthwashes, and even professional treatments.  Fluoride treatments help to prevent decay in both children and adults.


Fluoride treatment at the dentist


The most common way to have a fluoride treatment done is by making an appointment with us.  The fluoride can vary in what treatments you would like to have done.  One treatment is where the fluoride foam is placed in a tray and is worn in your mouth for four minutes.  You cannot have anything to eat or drink for 30 minutes after this treatment is done.  Another option is like the fluoride foam, only it is a fluoride gel that is placed in the tray and worn for four minutes.  Like the fluoride foam, you cannot have anything too eat or drink afterwards for 30 minutes.  You can also have a fluoride varnish painted onto your teeth, where it sticks until it is removed by brushing.  With this treatment you cannot have super hot drinks or even brush your teeth for four to six hours, but you can eat and drink right afterwards.  The last option is to have a fluoride rinse that is mixed at the office, and you just rinse with it.  You cannot eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after the treatment as well.


Fluoride you can do at home


You can also help prevent cavities by using fluoride at home between dental visits.  For the easiest and most common way to get fluoride, you only need to look toward your toothpaste.  Most toothpaste that is over the counter contains fluoride.  Baby and toddler toothpastes do not contain fluoride because of the risk of swallowing too much.  Usually toothpastes that aid in the reduction of sensitivity have more fluoride than the other kinds of toothpaste.  You can also purchase mouthwashes that contain fluoride in them as well.  Even if the label says it protects against tooth decay or stops cavities from forming, it is a fluoride rinse.  It is important to not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after you use the mouthwash.


Benefits of fluoride


Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid from plaque, bacteria, and sugars that are in your mouth.  It also helps to speed up remineralization and disrupts the acid production of both children and adults.  It is important for children between 6 months and 16 years to get a fluoride treatment.  This is the timeframe where the primary and permanent teeth come in, and the more protection they have against plaque and cavities, the better.  Adults can benefit from fluoride as well, especially if you have a history of frequent cavities or have crowns, bridges, or braces.  This helps everyone fight tooth decay and aids in the strengthening of teeth.

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