You probably remember receiving your fluoride treatment when you visited your family dentist for you bi-annual dental check-up as a kid. Whether you had gel, foam, rinse solution or fluoride varnish, the fluoride strengthened your enamel and destroyed bacteria-causing cavities. As an adult, you may have stopped receiving fluoride treatment thinking it was just for kids; however, studies have shown topical fluoride treatment applied by your dental hygienist imparts a significant benefit for adults who have moderate to high risk for cavities.
How does fluoride protect my teeth?
Adults can benefit from fluoride because, as we age, problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and gum recession, which exposes part of the root surface of teeth, become a real threat to our oral health . If these problems are left unchecked, they can lead to tooth loss. Not only can fluoride strengthen your teeth to prevent future decay, it can also help to arrest early decay, thus avoiding the need for a dental filling. Your Fort Lauderdale dentist recommends fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth's enamel and protect them from decay.
What Conditions Would Benefit From Adult Fluoride Treatment?
- GUM RECESSION (Gingival Recession). Adults with gum recession are at a higher risk for dental decay because when the gums recede your tooth's root is left exposed. The surface of the root is thinner and softer than the hard enamel on the crown on your tooth and therefore more susceptible to decay. Exposed roots are often sensitive; topical fluoride application treats hypersensitivity due to exposed root surfaces.
- EXISTING DENTAL RESTORATIONS. (Fillings, crowns, bridges) Patients with a history of dental work such as fillings, crowns or bridgework are at a higher risk of future decay around the dental work. Where your filling and tooth meet or where your dental crown and tooth meet is called the tooth margin. This area is more highly susceptible to decay. Fluoride can help protect the margins of these restorations, ultimately protecting your investment.
- DRY MOUTH. (xerostomia) Dry mouth is one of the primary risk factors for adult decay. Whether present as a side effect of certain medications, diabetes, due to normal aging, or as a result of radiation therapy for cancer, dry mouth causes a reduction in natural saliva production. Saliva neutralizes acids produced by bacteria, limits bacterial growth and washes away food particles. It has a key role in prevention of tooth decay. Additionally, saliva enhances remineralization by providing calcium, phosphate, and fluoride to enamel and dentin. Dry mouth decreases this remineralization. Your teeth and gums are sticky allowing decay-causing bacteria to adhere more easily.
- SMOKING. Smoking increases your risk of dental decay because it causes dry mouth. The stain left from smoking also allows plaque to build up more easily. Smoking also causes gum recession which, as discussed above, increases your chances of tooth decay.
- CHEMOTHERAPY or RADIATION TREATMENT. These cancer treatments often cause severe dry mouth which increases risk of dental decay. Many insurance companies cover fluoride for adults who have received cancer treatment.
- ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT. Patients with traditional metal bracket braces often find maintaining good oral hygiene a challenge. Fluoride can help keep these teeth strong and protect your investment.
- DIABETES. Because diabetics tend to develop dental cavities more frequently, are at a greater risk of gum disease, and face other oral health complications, your dentist recommends fluoride treatment.
Fluoride treatment has long been an outstanding weapon against tooth decay in children as well as adults. Studies have shown the benefits of professional fluoride treatment to fight tooth decay. If you have any of the above mentioned conditions that put you at risk for adult decay, ask your Fort Lauderdale dentist or hygienist if a fluoride treatment could help you. Dr. Nancy Rotroff and Dr. Gerard Wasselle at Excellence in Dentistry provide complete family dentistry and are here to keep your family's teeth in perfect health so you can smile with confidence. Call our office at 954-928-1666 to schedule an appointment for your dental check up today! Our office is conveniently located at 2480 E. Commercial Blvd in Fort Lauderdale.