According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the fluoridation of water has reduced the decay in teeth of adults and children by about 25%. Additional treatments can raise that amount even more.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps to strengthen the enamel of our teeth, which helps to fight against decay caused by plague and bacteria. As the acids formed by the bacteria fight against the teeth, we lose fluoride through a process called demineralization.
The fluoride we take in through the foods we eat, fluoridated water, and through treatments helps to replace the fluoride lost in the demineralization process. In addition to fighting against cavities, fluoride can help to repair early stages of decay through a process called remineralization.
There are many ways that fluoride treatments can be applied. At home, methods include rinses and special toothpaste, but their fluoride level is not as high as the treatments offered by your dentist. The most common forms found at dental offices are varnishes, gels, and foams. The higher concentration of fluoride offered by in-office treatments is much more beneficial than any at home methods.
Every single patient can greatly benefit from fluoride treatments: toddlers, adolescents, tweens, teens, adults… everyone! To help with the development of children’s teeth, it is recommended that children receive consistent fluoride treatments from around 6 months and on. When the teeth are in their formative stages, the fluoride treatments can help your children start their oral health on the right foot. For adults, fluoride treatments can greatly help fight against cavities as we become older and lose more fluoride.