Preserve your smile whenever possible. Contact us today to ask about preventive care.
Preventive dentistry can help keep your teeth and gums disease and decay free and minimize the chances of your oral health adversely affecting the rest of your body.
If you've ever had a cavity, chances are you don't want to relive the experience. Not only do cavities cause tooth sensitivity, but they can also escalate to a tooth abscess or periodontal disease if left untreated. One of the best ways to avoid getting cavities is through preventive dentistry, which involves maintaining good oral health to keep dental problems at bay.
Preventive dentistry includes everything from dental check-ups to brushing and flossing your teeth on a daily basis. The American Dental Association also recommends getting a fluoride treatment from your dentist at least once a year. Our team offers fluoride treatments to help strengthen the teeth and discourage harmful, cavity-causing bacteria. Here's a closer look at fluoride treatments and their benefits.
Fluoride is the ionized form of an element called fluorine. As a natural mineral, it can be found in water, soil, plants and even in the air. It is often used in toothpastes and dental treatments because of its ability to protect against and even reverse the effects of tooth decay. Although this mineral is naturally found in water and some foods, increasing your fluoride intake through toothpastes and treatments is a great way to prevent cavities.
When ingested or used topically, fluoride offers the following benefits:
The average human mouth has between 30 and 70 strains of bacteria. While most of these strains are harmless, some release acids that destroy enamel (the protective layering of your teeth) and cause cavities. Fluoride makes it difficult for these bacteria to form, grow and stick to the teeth, consequently reducing your chance of developing cavities in the first place.
Along with protecting against bacteria, fluoride contains properties that strengthen enamel. Not only does this make enamel more resistant to bacteria, but it also improves the appearance and sheen of your teeth. Finally, fluoride can restore minerals to areas of your teeth that have been eroded by bacteria, essentially repairing them. This process, known as remineralization, can solve microscopic problems and slow down decay. However, it's important to note that fluoride cannot repair significant dental decay or cavities that have already formed. That's why it's used as a preventive measure as opposed to a curative treatment.
The earlier you are exposed to fluoride, the more beneficial it will be. According to a study conducted by Cochrane Library, children and adolescents that received fluoride treatments were over 40% less likely to get cavities. You can introduce this mineral to your teeth by applying it topically or ingesting it. Sources of fluoride include:
While drinking enough water, using a fluoride toothpaste and eating a well-rounded diet are all great ways to increase your fluoride levels, they're not enough to properly protect your teeth. That's why the American Dental Association recommends getting fluoride treatments from your dentist.
A fluoride treatment is a quick, simple and non-invasive procedure designed to fortify your teeth against harmful bacteria. To apply the fluoride to the surface of your enamel, Dr. Kevin F. Postol will use either a swab, brush, gel or rinse. The entire treatment will take a few minutes, and the fluoride may be flavored to make the experience more enjoyable. Once it's done, you should avoid eating for about 30 minutes to allow the fluoride to fully absorb into the teeth.
Now that you know how fluoride treatments work, you may be wondering: how often do I need them? The American Dental Association recommends getting a fluoride treatment every 3 months, 6 months or 12 months. The exact amount depends on the condition of your teeth and your risk-level for cavities. The likelihood of getting a cavity can increase due to:
A good way to make sure you are receiving enough fluoride treatments is by keeping up with your dental visits. By evaluating your teeth, Dr. Postol can help determine how often you should be getting treatment.
The amount of fluoride you need increases as you age. Children under 3 years of age need about 0.25 milligrams of fluoride a day — parents should provide a very thin layer of fluoride toothpaste and closely monitor brushing to ensure children are spitting it out. Once children reach 4 years of age, they should have between 1 and 4.5 milligrams of fluoride. This range increases to between 1.5 and 4 milligrams for adolescents and adults.
It's important to try to receive your recommended amount of daily fluoride. If you don't get enough, you increase the chance of tooth decay — if you get too much, you risk damaging your teeth. Side effects of too much fluoride include:
Avoid taking fluoride supplements unless it is recommended by your dentist or a health-care professional. If you are concerned about your fluoride levels, Dr. Postol is happy to discuss your dental habits and offer advice.
If you're looking for a fluoride treatment near Ballwin, Missouri, Dr. Kevin F. Postol and his dental team are ready to help. They are also happy to address any questions or concerns you may have about the treatment. Reduce your risk of cavities by scheduling an appointment today!