Tooth decay, better known as cavities, is caused by bacteria that gather on your teeth and gums. The bacteria are sticky and coat your teeth with a clear film commonly called plaque. The bacteria produce acid which eats away at your tooth enamel and causes it to break down.
Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day will go a long way to removing the troublesome plaque and keeping your mouth healthy. But is there more you can do to prevent tooth decay? In short, yes.
Does Flouride Prevent Cavities?
To keep your teeth and gums in good health, visit your dentist for regular exams and professional cleanings. Exams and cleanings should be conducted every six months. During your time at the dentist, you should also consider having a professional fluoride treatment. That’s because the mineral fluoride helps prevent decay and can actually repair your teeth during very earliest stages of decay.
Different types of fluoride
Two types of fluoride exist. One is topical. It is put directly to your tooth’s enamel. Many common toothpastes and mouth rinses contain fluoride. The other type of fluoride is systemic. This is the type you consume in tap water or take as a pill.
To be most effective, fluoride should be delivered to your teeth both topically and systemically.
Professional fluoride treatments
If you are at high risk for tooth decay, a professional fluoride treatment can help prevent cavities. Fluoride that’s available in a dentist’s office is of a much stronger concentration than that found in store-bought mouthwashes and pastes. Professional fluoride treatments come in the form of a gel, foam, varnish or oral rinse. It can be swabbed on your teeth, swished in your mouth or placed in a tray that you hold your mount for several minutes.
Treatments take just a few minutes, and depending on your unique situation, you may need to repeat a fluoride treatments every few months. If you’re at very high risk for tooth decay, you can also incorporate an over-the-counter or prescription fluoride mouth rinses or gel in your oral hygiene routine.
Should you have fluoride treatments?
If you are at risk for tooth decay, you should have a professional fluoride treatment at a dental office. Risk factors for tooth decay include:
- Poor oral hygiene,
- Lack of regular dental care,
- Anorexia or bulimia,
- Drug or alcohol abuse,
- Orthodontic treatment paired with bad oral care,
- Exposed tooth roots,
- Dry mouth,
- Poor diet,
- Extensive fillings,
- Tooth enamel defects,
- Radiation therapy in the head or neck.
Ready to learn more about how fluoride and how it works to prevent cavities? Contact us for an appointment today!