You may remember receiving fluoride treatments from your dentist when you were younger. This procedure helps to increase the amount of fluoride on your teeth, which prevents cavities and promotes overall oral health. A highly concentrated form of fluoride is applied to your teeth and left to sit for a few minutes. Afterwards, your dentist will usually request that you do not eat or drink for 30 minutes to an hour after the treatment. Generally, these treatments end around age 14, but some people continue to get them into adulthood. But do adults really need to receive fluoride treatments?
Check Your Toothpaste
The answer to this question really depends on the health of your teeth. Everyone needs to have some amount of fluoride, but if you have healthy teeth, you will probably get enough of it in your daily toothpaste and from your tap water. You should still read the labels on your toothpaste to make sure that it contains fluoride so that you are protecting your teeth every time you brush.
Benefits of Fluoride
Still, it is not a bad idea to get professional fluoride treatments from your dentist, even if you don’t opt for it every time you visit. As you get older, you become more susceptible to certain dental conditions, such as gum disease or tooth and root decay. Fluoride treatments can help to strengthen and protect your teeth, preventing your need for invasive and expensive procedures in the future.
At Home Treatments
You can also increase your level of fluoride at home by buying certain toothpastes and in-home treatment kits. These can be a great help to remineralize areas of your teeth that have become more sensitive or prone to decay. They are easy to use and can go a long way in keeping your smile bright and healthy for years to come. You don’t have to use them every night, but it isn’t a bad idea to keep up with a regular schedule to protect your teeth.
However, professional fluoride treatments are still the best way to go, as your teeth absorb the fluoride most efficiently after a strong, thorough cleaning. In the same way that a professional cleaning is more effective than your everyday teeth brushing session, a fluoride treatment works longer and more efficiently than anything you might use at home. They are quick, painless, and low cost in most cases.
There are certain high-risk behaviors that may increase your risk of cavities and which may require you to receive fluoride treatments more often. These include excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, poor oral hygiene, chronic dry mouth, weak enamel, and poor diet. If any of these applies to you, it is best to get a fluoride treatment each time you visit Michael S. Connally, DDS, or at least once a year.