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What You Need to Know About Fluoride

What You Need to Know About Fluoride

Cavities affect as many as 90% of the world’s population, making them the most common disease worldwide. Despite how common they are, the incidence of cavities has been decreasing over time, in part due to preventive strategies, like fluoride treatments.

Even though fluoride treatments have been around for a while, many people don’t know how they work, if they need them, or what to expect during a fluoride treatment.

Novi Family Dentistry offers fluoride treatments to help patients in Novi, Michigan, avoid cavities and the pain and expense they can cause. In this post, Abir Faraj, DDS, reviews how fluoride works to strengthen your teeth and preserve your healthy smile.

How fluoride protects your teeth

Your teeth are protected by a tough layer of enamel — the toughest substance in your body and harder than steel! Despite its hardness, enamel still is no match for the bacteria that cause cavities, especially when you eat a lot of sugary foods or foods high in acids. 

Cavities happen when those bacteria multiply and begin to eat away at your enamel. Over time, this creates weak spots and tiny openings, allowing bacteria to reach the softer layers of your tooth and cause an area of decay.

The good news: Your mouth produces substances that help your teeth rebuild the hard outer layer of enamel, a process called remineralization. The bad news: Remineralization doesn’t always happen quickly enough to prevent bacteria from doing damage — and that means you can still wind up with a cavity.

Fluoride disrupts this process to help protect your teeth from cavities. Specifically, fluoride promotes remineralization of your tooth surface, creating an optimal environment for rebuilding the tough layer of enamel. In addition to preventing cavities, fluoride treatments can also reduce tooth sensitivity.

Many people think fluoride treatments are only suitable for kids, but that’s not true. Adults can reap the rewards of regular fluoride treatments too. In fact, fluoride treatments can be a great option for people with braces, those with chronic dry mouth or gum disease, and anyone undergoing cancer treatment of the head or neck.

Fluoride treatment: What to expect

Nearly all toothpastes and many mouthwashes contain fluoride to help prevent cavities. But for most of us, these products don’t provide enough protection, especially against foods high in sugars and acids.

Professional fluoride treatments give your teeth an added level of protection — and better still, treatments are quick and completely painless. During your treatment, Dr. Faraj applies fluoride varnish to the surface of your teeth. 

Afterward, you’ll need to avoid eating, drinking, or smoking for a half hour to give the treatment plenty of time to penetrate and jump-start remineralization. Children benefit from fluoride treatments 2-4 times per year, while most adults need an annual treatment.

Fluoride treatments give your teeth the extra protection they need to fight off bacteria and avoid painful cavities and damaged teeth. To learn more or to schedule your own fluoride treatment, call 313-646-7903 or book an appointment online at Novi Family Dentistry today.

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