Generally speaking, fluoride treatments are mainly recommended for children to strengthen their teeth against bacteria. You might remember your dentist performing a fluoride treatment on your smile when you were younger. But what about when you reach adulthood? Are fluoride treatments still necessary at that point? Here’s what your dentist has to say about the benefits fluoride can have for your grin.
How Does Fluoride Help Your Smile?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral with properties that can lower your risk for cavities. When it’s absorbed by the teeth, it strengthens the enamel, making it more resistant to decay-causing bacteria. Also, fluoride can help remineralize your teeth to repair any minor damage. In some cases, fluoride can even reverse or stop tooth decay in its earliest stages.
Can Adults Benefit from Fluoride?
While many people mistakenly believe that fluoride can only help children whose teeth are still developing, the truth is that it can benefit smiles of all ages. It can be particularly helpful for adults who have a higher-than-average risk for tooth decay.
For example, as you get older, saliva production starts to slow down, potentially leading to a dry mouth. This can be problematic for your oral health because saliva is essential for protecting your teeth from decay. Fluoride treatments can go a long way toward keeping your smile safe even when there’s less saliva in your mouth.
When is a Fluoride Treatment Necessary for Adults?
Fluoride is added to public drinking water in many areas, and all ADA-approved toothpastes have fluoride as a key ingredient. As such, most adults get all the fluoride exposure they need on a day-to-day basis. However, depending on the state of your oral health, your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment as a preventive measure.
You might need a fluoride treatment if:
- Your mouth is dry due to age or some kind of health condition.
- You are taking medication that is causing dry mouth as a side effect.
- Your gums have receded, exposing the roots of your teeth to harmful bacteria.
- You have gotten a filling in the last year. (Having one cavity means you could be at risk for further decay.)
- You are wearing traditional braces that make it difficult to thoroughly clean your teeth.
- You have recently received radiation therapy to your head or neck. (In some cases, radiation therapy can affect saliva production.)
Ultimately, the only way to know for sure whether a fluoride treatment is truly necessary for protecting your smile is to speak with your dentist.
About the Author
Dr. Gladston Silva earned his DDS from the University of Itauna in Brazil; he has also received a DMD with top honors from NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. At his current Daytona Beach practice, Lakeside Daytona Dentist, he can help patients of all ages protect their smiles with topical fluoride treatments. To schedule a preventive checkup and cleaning with Dr. Silva, visit his website or call (386) 274-2021.