Ben Franklin said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In the world of teeth, this concept relates to the use of Fluoride to protect you teeth. There are many reasons for adults to have regular fluoride treatment and taking a proactive approach can save your smile as well as your pocketbook in the long run. Some people fear fluoride as an unnatural health measure. The truth is that fluoride Fluoride can occur in drinking water naturally as a result of the geological composition of soils and bedrock. It's discovery as an anti-cavity agent was discovered when fluoride was over abundant in a local water supply (in Colorado Springs.) Fluoride continues to be dental science's main weapon in the battle against tooth decay. Today, just about every toothpaste on the market contains fluoride as its active ingredient; water fluoridation projects currently benefit over 200 million Americans, and 13 million schoolchildren now participate in school-based fluoride mouth rinse programs. (source)
WHY FLUORIDE FOR ADULTS?
Topical placement of fluoride is needed for people with:
High Caries Risk (3 fillings/cavities or more)
Existing crown and bridge work
Dry Mouth (from medications or radiation treatment)
Poor Oral Hygiene (Not flossing daily, not brushing twice daily)
Fluoride treatments are recommended for adult patients with any of the above concerns. You might ask yourself, “Do I really need a fluoride treatment? I thought those were just for my kids.” After all, most insurance plans cover fluoride treatments only up to the age of 18.
Studies have shown topical fluoride applications performed by a dental professional create a significant benefit for adults who have moderate to high risk for cavities.
There are several circumstances that warrant extra fluoride protection among adults. Many prescription medications reduce saliva flow or otherwise create dry mouth. A reduction in saliva increases cavity risk.
Adults often experience gum recession, which exposes part of the root surface of teeth. These areas are softer than the hard enamel at the top of the tooth, which makes them more susceptible to decay.
In addition, adults often get restorative work such as crowns or bridges. Fluoride can help protect the margins of these restorations, ultimately protecting your investment.
Today many people opt for orthodontic treatment (braces) as adults. Braces make it more challenging for patients to maintain good oral hygiene. Just ask your kids! Fluoride can keep the teeth strong and cavity-free even with the obstacle of orthodontic appliances.
Have you had a restoration done within the last year due to new decay? If you have, that puts you at a higher risk for cavities. Fluoride treatments are a great way to prevent more cavities in patients who are already prone to them.
How is that flossing coming along? You know you should floss daily, but do you? If your oral hygiene is not ideal, fluoride could be just the thing to keep your neglect from leading to cavities between your teeth.
Fluoride can also help with the growing problem of sensitive teeth. Diets high in acidic foods and beverages, general gum recession, and increased use of whitening products all tend to produce sensitive teeth. Fluoride treatments re-mineralize tooth enamel and reduce that sensitivity.
Patients who undergo radiation treatment for cancer also benefit from topical fluoride applications. Radiation damages saliva glands, thus greatly reducing the flow of saliva. Saliva acts as a buffer against the foods we eat and beverages we drink. Once again, less saliva greatly increases the risk of cavities.
If you ever have questions on your treatment or on how fluoride might benefit you please let us know. We would be happy to answer your questions.