Your dentist may offer fluoride treatment to prevent tooth decay for patients. Fluoride helps by making the tooth more resistant to the buildup of plaque and sugars. It can also speed re-mineralization as well as disrupt acid erosion in teeth.
Fluoride can be applied to the teeth as a gel, foam or varnish. According to the ADA, fluoride intake is often recommended for infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. During this time, primary and permanent teeth are developing. Fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth.
Adults can benefit from fluoride as well to fight tooth decay and strengthen teeth. People with the following oral health conditions are more susceptible to decay and may especially benefit from fluoride treatment:
- Dry mouth
- Gum disease
- History of frequent cavities
- Presence of crowns and/or bridges
- Undergoing orthodontic treatment
In addition to receiving fluoride treatment at your dental office, it can be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses. Mouth rinses containing fluoride in lower strengths are available over-the-counter. However, stronger mouth rinses can be provided by a doctor’s prescription. Fluoride can also be found in public water supplies.