What is Fluoride Therapy?

What is Fluoride Therapy?

Fluoride mineral is fundamental in maintaining healthy teeth. It is naturally available in some foods and tap water in most regions, but fluoride treatment is still necessary. The mineral can prevent tooth decay effectively, but it may not be a suitable option for everyone. So, what is fluoride therapy? Sometimes known as fluoride treatment, fluoride therapy is the systematic or topical application of concentrated fluoride on teeth. The goal is usually to reduce the chances of decay and cavities. Two modes of application exist – topical and systematic treatment. For the former, the fluoride can be in form of varnish, gel, foam, solution for mouth rinse, or toothpaste. For the latter, you can take the mineral as tablets or drops. Over-the-counter fluoride supplements are also available. However, taking them without the instructions of a dentist is not advisable.

Forms of Delivery

1- Toothpaste
Dentifrices contain different quantities of fluoride in varying forms like sodium mono fluorophosphate or MFP. Products containing more amounts of fluoride have proven to be more effective in preventing cavities. However, too many quantities can cause diverse effects in the body. That is why there is a percentage limit for the mineral in toothpaste and the reason most regular pastes contain minimal fluoride amounts. The dentist can prescribe dental cream instead of toothpaste if you are at high risk of getting caries.
2- Gels and foams
Fluoride gels and foams come in handy for people more susceptible to caries and other orthodontic issues. Other patients who might use it include children because their molars cannot be sealed, people undergoing radiation treatment on the neck or head, those who have limited saliva flow, and patients already undergoing orthodontic treatment. Foam or gel application is usually through a mouth tray that the patient bites. The tray contains fluoride, and the process takes at least 40 minutes. You should not drink water, eat, or rinse the mouth for at least 30 minutes after the therapy. You can also use the gel the same way you use toothpaste. It is important to note that such gel products contain minimal quantities of fluoride.
3- Mouthwash
Fluoride therapy as a mouth rinse is also available for daily use. The solution contains 0.05% fluoride and is easily accessible. However, the low concentration may not be sufficient for patients at a higher risk of getting cavities. Mouth rinse is also available as a prescription in local pharmacies. It comes with contraindications for children and adults getting fluoride from other sources like tap water. Denwest Dental Clinic experts can give you instructions on mouth rinse usage without exposure to potential risks.
4- Varnish
Benefits of using varnish instead of gel include smaller amounts of fluoride intake, no unpleasant taste in the mouth after application, and ease of use. You apply it with a brush and let it sit for a few seconds.

Fluoride Therapy Benefits

Fluoride mineral plays an essential role in the body. For instance, it promotes proper usage of calcium and phosphate and strengthens the enamel. It works on the teeth by bonding with the tooth structure to ensure the enamel is strong enough and less vulnerable to cavities or bacterial infection. Fluoride intake also helps to make the tooth surface more compact and resistant to dissolution.

Fluoride can also slow down cavities and eventually reverse them by eliminating the responsible bacteria. The mineral ensures the bacteria present in plaque do not form acids by interfering with sugar metabolism. The inability of the bacteria to consume sugar results in less production of acid waste. That leads to a lower demineralization process of the teeth.
Those benefits also bring other advantages, such as eliminating the need for costly dental procedures, keeping away gum disease and other painful dental problems, and preventing premature teeth loss. By extension, fluoride therapy improves overall health.

When you should get fluoride therapy?

Fluoride therapy is usually better for children – before the permanent teeth replace milk teeth. However, adults can also get fluoride therapy to prevent decay and get better teeth. Some health conditions that can increase the chances of tooth decay also make the treatment fundamental. Examples are:

Previous Cavities

If you have a history of cavities every other year, you may be a good candidate for fluoride therapy. The treatment can prevent subsequent decay.

Gum disease

Periodontitis is a common problem that fluoride therapy can alleviate. The mineral prevents bacteria living on the root and enamel from thriving and reverts the problem or keeps it from becoming worse. Fluoride therapy can also be beneficial for people with gingivitis.

Xerostomia

Dry mouth conditions can have several causes, such as allergy, high blood pressure, or anxiety medication. Neck and head radiation therapy can also interfere with saliva flow, making teeth more susceptible to decay. Insufficient saliva increases the chances of food debris remaining in the mouth and lowers the rate at which acids become neutralized. Fluoride supplements can help reduce the chances of infections.

Orthodontic Treatment

Some restoration options used during orthodontic procedures, such as bridges, crowns, and braces, can also increase decay. Fluoride therapy can strengthen the teeth, especially around the brackets or in sections where the crown meets the tooth surface.

Potential Side Effects of the Treatment

Fluoride is a dangerous mineral in high quantities. The toxic amount differs according to weight, but it is more problematic for children. That is why parents should monitor fluoride use closely and maintain the dosage recommended by the dentist. Failure to do so can lead to:

Allergic reactions

Although allergic reactions are rare, they are possible. Common signs include rashes or skin irritation.

Discoloration 

Teeth discoloration is more common than allergic reactions. The extent ranges from less noticeable white streaks to obvious brown stains. The condition is known as fluorosis and mainly occurs when children younger than six years ingest too much fluoride. Intake can be by swallowing toothpaste, drinking water containing fluoride, or supplements. If a child cannot spit toothpaste, they should not use fluorinated one.
Regular dental hygiene practices can rectify such discoloration, but some cases may require bleaching by a professional dentist.

Conclusion

Fluoride therapy is an effective way of preventing tooth decay, and Denwest Dental Clinic is the best place to book such therapy. We have over two decades of experience, which means we are well suited to handle various dental issues. Give us a call for more information or consultation.

 

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