Fluoride Is Important At All Ages
If you think that fluoride treatments are only important during adolescence, you are probably not alone. In the past, fluoride was used primarily to protect teeth during their initial eruption and development which is why you probably remember fluoride treatments when you visited the dentist as a child. However, fluoride is still important as we age and should not be forgotten about after the age of 18.
One reason that many patients stop receiving fluoride treatments as adults is because they are often no longer covered by their dental insurance company. Unfortunately the recommended standard of dental care often falls prey to insurance company standards, but just because your insurance company doesn’t cover something doesn’t mean it isn’t still important.
Importance of Fluoride
To help you understand why fluoride is important at all ages, we have listed a variety of scenarios in which adult patients may benefit from regular fluoride treatments:
- Do you experience sensitivity? Regular fluoride applications can help eliminate sensitivity.
- Do you have any crowns or bridges? Fluoride can help protect these restorations and eliminate decay around their margins.
- Do you struggle with tooth decay even though you brush and floss as instructed? You may be at an increased risk of decay and need additional protection for your tooth enamel.
- Do you take medications that cause dry mouth? Saliva helps clean your teeth naturally, but a decrease in saliva can increase your risk for tooth decay. Fluoride can help prevent against decay for patients experiencing dry mouth.
- Do you have braces? Teeth can be harder to clean during orthodontic treatment, putting you at an increased risk of developing cavities. Fluoride can help strengthen your teeth and prevent decay with you have braces.
Sources of Fluoride
Fluoride can be found in several main places. The most obvious place is in your community water supply. Since the 1940’s, the American population has been enjoying the benefit of fluoridated water, resulting in an overall decline in tooth decay. This can be a great benefit, but with many Americans now drinking bottled water it is important that they seek fluoride from alternative sources in order to still protect their teeth.
The second main place that fluoride is found is in toothpaste and mouthwash. The American Dental Association recommends that all everyone 2 years of age and older brushes with a fluoridated toothpaste daily. Fluoride is added to the majority of toothpastes nowadays, there are still some that don’t contain fluoride so you must be vigilant when choosing what toothpaste to use. Mouthwash is a little trickier because there are still many mouthwashes that do not contain fluoride. Look for a therapeutic rinse that specifically states it contains fluoride to make sure you are receiving the benefit of fluoride protection. It is best to use a therapeutic rinse as the last thing you do before going to bed and not to drink anything after it.
Lastly, in-office fluoride treatments from your dentist should not be overlooked. These treatments typically only take several minutes and can be administered by either your dentist or dental hygienist. Fluoride from your dentist is delivered at a much higher concentration than is found in toothpaste or mouthwash, providing valuable protection for individuals who are at an increased risk of tooth decay. Even if these treatments are not covered by your dental insurance, they are often very affordable.
Ask Your Hygienist What They Recommend
Fluoride is one of the biggest developments in the dental industry over the past 100 years. Modern medicine has allowed us to reap the benefits of fluoride from a variety of sources including community water, oral care products, and professional fluoride treatments. We hope you will discuss the benefits of fluoride with your dental hygienist at your next dental appointment and find out which of these fluoride treatments he or she may recommend for you.