Fluoride Treatment Guide

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Fluoride Treatment Guide

Fluoride prevents dental cavities and strengthens teeth. It keeps the outer protective layer of teeth (enamel) healthy and fights bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Fluoride treatment is so helpful to those who already have plaque and/or tartar (calculus). Plaque refers to the sticky substance that forms on top of the enamel and is invisible. Tartar is hard rather than sticky, and has yellowish-brown color. While plaque can be removed easily at home, tartar requires professional dental cleaning. If plaque is ignored, it creates a favorable conducive environment for bacteria to thrive in. It produces acid that erodes teeth enamel and gum tissue, making it easier for bacteria to enter and damage the pulp (a section with nerves and blood vessels).

How professional fluoride treatment is done

Dentists use very concentrated products: varnish, gel, form or rinse. The right one is selected based on the patient’s dental history. These can be placed on teeth with a brush, tray, swab or mouthwash. They have more fluoride content than the amount found in water or toothpaste and are applied in just a few minutes. After the application process, a patient is advised not to eat or drink anything to help the applied fluoride permeate the tough enamel.

Cost of fluoride treatment and how often to get treated

If you have a dental insurance cover, it will cover fluoride treatments for kids. As for you, there may be a small amount you will pay out of the pocket-about 10 to 30 dollars. Concerning the frequency of fluoride treatments, the ADA (American Dental Association) recommends getting it every three, six or twelve months. If you are a high risk patient, meaning that you are prone to cavities, your dental specialist might give you a special fluoride gel or rinse to continue using at home. People are at high risk if:

  • Eat a poor diet or have an eating disorder
  • Have a decreased saliva production
  • Lack expert dental care
  • Have weak enamel
  • Don’t brush and floss as required every day.

If you need more fluoride from your diet, you might want to consume tea, water, bony fish, infant formula and supplements. Food cooked in water can give you extra fluoride too.  It is also important to know the amount of fluoride content that each member of your family should consume per day. A child below 3 years of age needs 0.1 to 1.5mg, children between 4 and 6 years require 1 to 2.5mg, 7 to10 years old kids need 1.5 to 2.5mg and teens and adults require 1.5 to 4mg per day. Note that infants below 3 years of age must only brush their teeth with you around. They require just a thin layer of fluoride toothpaste, smaller that a grain of rice. Those who are 3 to 6 years of age may use pea size fluoride toothpaste content. It is important to follow the instructions of your pediatric dentist.

Fluoride treatment benefits

This treatment restores the right amount of fluoride to the tooth surfaces that are prone to bacteria attack. As well as this, the procedure stops further growth of oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. While fluoride cannot remove tooth decay that already exists, it can prevent it from progressing in to the dentin and other inner components of a tooth.

If there is too much fluoride in teeth though, white specks can develop on adult teeth, as well as pitting and staining on teeth.  Excess fluoride content in the body can also lead to dense but weak bone, and issues with bone homeostasis. Always follow manufacturer recommendations and consult your dentist.

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