If you visit our dentist in Irving, you’ll probably receive a recommendation for periodic fluoride treatments. One common question patients ask is why these treatments are necessary. After all, if you brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste once or twice a day, why should you have to have fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office?
What Fluoride Does for Your Teeth
Fluoride is an important element in the development of the teeth, as well as in helping keep the teeth strong and resistant to decay. Tooth decay occurs when minerals in the teeth, including calcium and phosphate, are degraded due to the work of bacteria and the acidic by-products they leave behind. Fluoride helps the teeth replace these minerals more quickly and efficiently, a process called remineralization. In this way, fluoride helps prevent decay, and can even help reverse decay in its early stages.
In younger children, fluoride also helps the teeth during their initial growth, insuring they are strong and healthy. For this reason, fluoride treatments are particularly important for younger children.
Advantages of Professional Fluoride Treatment
When you brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste or use a fluoride rinse, fluoride is deposited on the teeth in small quantities over a short exposure time. Professional fluoride treatments provide two major advantages to this everyday treatment. First, the fluoride your dentist uses is much stronger than that used in toothpaste and mouthwashes. Second, the dentist will apply the fluoride directly to your teeth and allow it to sit for several minutes—considerably longer than it takes for you to brush your teeth. This extended exposure to the fluoride allows it to be absorbed more thoroughly, providing more effective results.
Most dentists recommend fluoride treatments about once a year. This additional treatment helps keep your teeth strong and healthy and helps prevent and even reverse decay. To keep your teeth healthy for many years to come, be sure to ask about regular fluoride treatments.