Fluoride treatments, according to the American Dental Association and National Institute of Health are a safe, effective and conservative way in which a dental office can provide to help in prevention of tooth decay and maintaining your dental health. Brushing and flossing are the “basics” for prevention of dental disease but are not the only “tools” available for keeping teeth healthy.
Fluoride has been shown to help keep the enamel of teeth strong as minerals in the enamel (calcium and phosphorus) can be leached out by “acid attacks” from foods we eat and liquids we drink. Even with diligence to a healthy diet, it is often difficult with our busy lifestyles to avoid certain foods and drinks that set the stage for tooth decay. Fluoride helps to neutralize these “acids” and replace “lost minerals” of weakened enamel, resulting in stronger and healthier teeth that are more resistant to decay.
The benefits of fluoride begin even before birth while teeth are forming and continue throughout our lifetime. Fluoride is especially effective during childhood and teen years as new teeth are developing. Later in life there is potential for gum recession, exposing a tooth’s root surface to decay risk and a reduction of salivary flow (which helps with washing away food particles and dental plaque) making use of fluoride just as important when older as in youth.
Fluoride in our drinking water supply and in ADA approved toothpastes have been proven to be great aids in prevention of tooth decay. Additionally, Dr. Clanton’s hygienists can provide “fluoride treatments” in the form of a fluoride varnish applied topically to the surfaces of the teeth. Home fluoride rinses or a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste may also be recommended when indicated to help our patients in maintaining good dental health.