Do you remember getting flouride treatments as a child at the dentist’s office? Sitting still in a chair while wearing mouth trays filled with brightly colored “goop” probably wasn’t an experience that topped your “summer fun” list. But, you’re an adult now—no need for flouride treatments anymore, right?
Fluoride treatments can greatly benefit anyone’s smile, regardless of age. Everyday, we lose this natural mineral by consuming acids and sugars that break down the protective barrier on our teeth.
Fluoride treatments help prevent cavities and reverse early stages of decay and disease that are caused by this natural breakdown. And before you start having flashbacks to your youth, the good news is that there are a variety of more tolerable fluoride treatment options today than in years past, including swabs, varnishes, and mouthwashes.
Read on to learn why fluoride is an essential mineral to the health of your smile.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride has been a trusted, essential oral health treatment for decades. In fact, fluoride treatment for cavities dates all the way back to the year 1901, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Similar to calcium, except that it carries one extra electron, fluoride bonds to your teeth in place of calcium. And similar to calcium, fluoride is a hard substance that strengthens the enamel on your teeth.
Fluoride works to prevent cavities by concentrating in the growing bones and developing teeth of children to harden enamel before the teeth emerge, and also by restoring the enamel of adult teeth that has weakened or thinned over time.
There are two different types of fluoride: topical and systematic.
Topical fluoride is applied directly to the enamel via toothpaste and/or treatments provided by your local Springfield, MO dentist.
Systemic fluoride can be found as an additive in local tap water and through dietary supplements.
Did you know? In the 1930s, researchers found that people who grew up drinking naturally fluoridated water had up to two-thirds fewer cavities than people living in areas without fluoridated water, according to the Alliance For a Cavity-free Future.
You can achieve the maximum reduction in dental cavities with a treatment approach that includes both topical and systemic fluoride.
Benefits of Fluoride
Fluoride benefits your oral health in two critical ways:
Protects against tooth decay and cavities. The earlier that children are exposed to fluoride, the less likely they are to develop cavities. One study found that children and teens who received fluoride treatments for one year were 43 percent less likely to experience decay and cavities. The risk of developing cavities doesn’t waver as you age, however, which is why it’s important to include fluoride treatments as part of an ongoing, regular oral health regimen.
Improves your smile. Diet, oral hygiene, and genetics are all major issues that can compromise the aesthetics of your smile. While fluoride can’t promise whiter, straighter teeth, it can help you fend off other factors that lead to discoloration, misalignment, and gaps.
Our teeth naturally age over the years, just like our skin, bones, and organs. Despite the best efforts in brushing and flossing, your teeth will naturally lose their luster over time. Getting regular fluoride treatments throughout your adult life is a smart approach for fighting back against Father Time.
What Should I Expect?
Your local dentists at Excel Dental recommend a professional fluoride treatment every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on your oral health. Professional fluoride treatments take only a few minutes, and typically are offered in the form of a highly concentrated solution, gel, foam, or varnish. The application process may include a cotton swab or brush, rinse, or via mouth tray. These topical treatments provide more concentrated fluoride than what’s found in your tap water or at-home toothpaste.
Once the treatment is complete, make sure not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow your teeth to absorb the fluoride and repair microscopic areas where cavities might be forming. If your Ozark, MO dentist determines you are at a higher risk for cavities, a professional-grade fluoride rinse or gel for regular use at home may be prescribed.
At Excel Dental, we’ll customize a fluoride treatment that is the perfect fit for you based off your full health history and following a full dental exam.
All For Fluoride!
It’s much easier (and cheaper!) to preserve your smile rather than trying to restore it later. Fend off cavities and maintain a healthy grin with a tailored fluoride treatment plan from Excel Dental. Make an appointment today for the whole family with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews. Find us in Ozark, Missouri—just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.
Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:
Springfield, MO – Stress is a fact of life. We often cannot escape overwhelming feelings when it comes to work, traveling, lack of time and sleep, diet, or relationships. But these feelings can take a toll on us in many ways. Stress affects our mental health and our physical health, including the mouth, gums, and teeth.
Dr. Marc Barnett agrees that too much stress can lead to depression and anxiety. “When people are depressed, they often do not take care of themselves, as they should. This can lead to many problems pertaining to the mouth,” says Dr. Barnett, an Ozark dentist who specializes in smile makeovers in the Springfield area.
Springfield, MO – Barnett-Davis Dental Group now has a new name! We’d like to introduce Excel Dental – providing the same level of exceptional care by the same outstanding Ozark dentists. So if nothing else has changed, why change the name? Simple, we wanted our name to better reflect our care philosophy – that optimum oral health begins with dental care excellence.
“For many years, our practice has worked very hard to set ourselves apart as the area’s best family dentistry practice,” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “Not only does our expertise reflect that, but our compassion and commitment to cutting edge technology does, as well.”
Springfield, Missouri – October was National Dental Hygiene Month, making this a great time to discuss the importance of preventive dental care. It is essential that patients visit their dentists every six months to prevent problems from developing and to detect and treat issues before they become more severe.
“It’s important for patients to remember that they can have dental problems without experiencing pain,” says Springfield, Missouri dental care provider Dr. Marc Barnett. “In fact, pain is often the final symptom. Many dental issues are not symptomatic, so it may take a visit to the dentist’s office to uncover it.”
SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI – Is it just a coincidence that the national dental hygiene awareness month is the same month as one of the biggest candy-consuming holidays of the year? Our team at Barnett-David Dental Group could only speculate about that. However, we do know that Halloween candy and sugary treats mean a higher risk of cavities, and we want to keep the patients at our family dentistry practice from getting them. Keep your teeth healthy this Halloween with these dental care tips.
The slogan for the American Dental Hygienists’ Association’s annual dental hygiene awareness campaign is “Brush. Floss. Rinse. Chew.” which is an easy way to remember the steps for proper dental hygiene. (http://www.adha.org/national-dental-hygiene-month)
SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI — A lack of dental insurance is one reason that many people put off visiting a dentist to get the dental care they need. The team at Excel Dental wants people to know that there are other options for those with no dental insurance. Receiving dental care without insurance is not impossible.
“Some people think they can’t come to the dentist because they don’t have dental insurance, but that’s the worst thing they can do in terms of their health or saving money,” says Dr. Kelly Barnett, who is an award-winning Springfield, Mo. cosmetic dentistry provider.
Putting off regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings or postponing simple procedures like a filling or repairing a loose crown is a bad plan for maintaining a healthy mouth and body. Plus, it often winds up costing much more money in the long run.
“If patients have their teeth checked and problems treated while the issues are small, it is much more affordable than waiting until a dental issue becomes large or painful because those are usually more expensive to treat,” says Dr. Tracy Davis.
SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI — This year, approximately 42,000 people in the U.S. will find out they have a form of oral cancer and more than 8,000 people will die from it. (http://oralcancerfoundation.org/events/oral-cancer-awareness-month.html)
“All types of cancer and every death caused by them is tragic, but what makes this even worse is that had these cases been caught early enough, they probably would not have died,” says Dr. Marc Barnett, who has been a one of Springfield MO dentists since 1984.
SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI — Sleep apnea, jaw pain and snoring are common contributors to getting a poor night’s sleep, which can impact everything from work performance and mood to driving abilities the next day.
“Sleep deprivation has actually been linked to and correlated with chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression,” says Dr. Kelly Barnett, who is a periodontist and dental crowns provider for more than three decades “In fact, studies show that driving sleep deprived can be as dangerous as driving with a blood alcohol level about the legal limit.”
SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI — Everything from stress levels and smoking to diet and exercise impact your heart health, but another factor of life that affects your heart you might not hear mentioned as often is your mouth.
“That’s right,” says Dr. Marc Barnett, a Rogersville MO dentist since 1984. “There is a link between your oral health and your heart health. Research has shown that keeping your mouth healthy can help reduce your risk of problems with cardiovascular disease.”
SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI—Whether it is bumping into a neighbor while you’re out shopping, making small talk in the close confines of a Christmas party, or meeting under the mistletoe, make sure you have fresh breath for the social interactions you’re likely to have this holiday season.
Before you assume that you don’t have bad breath, remember that the brain’s ability to acclimate to smells means you aren’t able to smell your own breath even with the breathing into cupped hands and sniffing technique. Try a simple fresh breath self-test for a more accurate representation of what your breath smells like to others. Use a spoon to scrape from the very back portion of your tongue toward the front of your mouth. Let the saliva dry and take a whiff of the spoon. This is probably the way your breath smells.