As a dentist office in Leawood, we use fluoride to help strengthen teeth. You may even see ads for toothpaste containing fluoride and wonder if it even works; let alone, how it works. Fluorine is a naturally occurring substance that is most commonly found in the air, food, and dirt. Now, fluoride is also found in public water throughout the country. Fluoride is easily absorbed by the body and the enamel (outer layer of the teeth). When your enamel absorbs the fluoride, it will strengthen your teeth and decrease your risk for cavities.
Why it works
In our dentist office, we also recommend using toothpaste that contains fluoride as a method of strengthening teeth in between dental visits. While this is not as effective as drinking it or having a professional treatment, it can be helpful in reducing the occurrence of cavities.
When absorbed by the enamel, fluoride helps to remineralize teeth. This is important because over time demineralization naturally occurs due to diet, oral hygiene, and age. As this happens, the hard enamel on the outside of the teeth becomes weaker, and the teeth can feel more sensitive. They can also become more susceptible to cavities.
By remineralizing and strengthening teeth, fluoride can reduce the risk for cavities. In fact, research has found that fluoride can reduce the effect of tooth decay and even reverse the damage before it reaches the point of becoming a traditional cavity. We find that this treatment is incredibly effective.
The application of fluoride
We typically recommend an annual fluoride treatment for children and teens. The fluoride comes in a simple varnish that is mostly odor and taste-free, making it an easy treatment option for children. We simply apply it to the teeth and leave it there for around four minutes. Once complete, the treatment will strengthen the teeth and reduce the risk of cavities.
Adults typically do not receive in-office fluoride treatments, and this is why drinking tap water and using a fluoride toothpaste is so important. In our dentist office, we have had many patients express that their teeth feel less sensitive after starting a regimen of brushing with this type of paste. Given how easy this is to do, there is no reason not to brush with a fluoride toothpaste. Additionally, there are mouth rinses that children can use at home.
In rare cases, if teeth are prone to cavities we may recommend a more aggressive at-home treatment. We can provide special trays so that you can apply a fluoride gel at home in order to help prevent cavities. Again, the trays are only in rare cases but we can discuss it with you during your dental exam. To find out how fluoride can help you, visit our Leawoodoffice for a teeth cleaning and exam today.