Regular brushing and flossing is essential to optimal oral health, but fluoride treatments can give the teeth extra protection they need. Children are highly likely to develop dental decay and cavities and fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, has been proven to help teeth healthy and strong.
How Fluoride Treatments Help Teeth
As we eat and drink, our tooth enamel is attacked by acids formed by plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth, which causes mineral loss or demineralization. With the presence of enough minerals in the diet, including fluoride, calcium and phosphate, the enamel can be naturally repaired, or remineralized. If, however, too much mineral loss occurs, it will lead to tooth decay. Fluoride treatments help to make the teeth more resistant to decay and can even reverse early decay. For children under the age of 6, the fluoride becomes integrated as the permanent teeth develop, making them less susceptible to demineralization from acid attacks.
When Fluoride Treatments are Necessary
As fluoride is present in community water supplies and in many toothpastes and mouthwashes, some children may not need a treatment at the dentist. At Akron Smiles Dental Center, we carefully evaluate each child to determine if a treatment is necessary. Only a small amount of the mineral is required to be effective, and it pays to be cautious as too much can cause dental fluorosis, a condition in which white spots, brown markings, or discolorations appear on the teeth.
For most children, however, a treatment can be beneficial. The primary teeth, or baby teeth, are quite soft and porous, and fluoride can help strengthen the enamel to prevent dental decay. Children are prone to developing mineral loss and tooth decay on their primary teeth as well, and a treatment can help to reduce the risk of cavities.
Getting a Fluoride Treatment
According to the American Dental Association, most children should visit the dentist for a treatment every six months. Getting a treatment will be simple and painless for your child. After a dental cleaning, one of our hygienists will paint a topical solution on all surfaces of the teeth. Your child will need to refrain from eating, drinking, or rinsing the mouth for at least 30 minutes to allow the solution to absorb into the teeth. If our hygienist determines that your child needs additional protection from tooth decay, we may recommend a supplemental mouthwash, gel, or antibacterial rinse to use at home.
Getting the right amount of fluoride is essential to a healthy mouth. Give Akron Smiles Dental Center a call to learn more about our fluoride treatments – we’d love to help protect your child’s smile.