A Charming Smile: Is Fluoride Therapy Right for You?
Many dentists will recommend that their patients have a fluoride treatment at least once a year, but is this right for you and your teeth? The answer depends on a few different variables, including where you live, what brand of toothpaste you use and what condition your teeth are currently in.
However, your dentist is the one who can best decide what treatments for your teeth will be beneficial and which ones you should skip. It is important to discuss all your concerns with your dentist at the beginning of each appointment.
Recommendations from the American Dental Association or ADA is for a fluoride treatment at different intervals depending on how badly your teeth need fluoride. Recommendations range from every three months, six months and once a year.
You are at risk for cavities if any of the following apply to you:
- Weak enamel
- Poor oral hygiene
- Lack of consistent dental care
- Excessive street drug abuse
- Poor diet, mostly sweets, no vegetables, and most processed foods
- Eating disorders
Benefits of a Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride creates a stronger outer covering of your teeth. It does not remove tooth decay. Fluoride will also lessen the likelihood of developing cavities from certain foods and neglected oral care.
The important minerals on the tooth's surface can be restored with a fluoride therapy treatment. The amount of fluoride will depend on how much fluoride you have already gotten through different avenues in your daily life.
Fluoride is found in the following edibles:
- Infant formula
- Fish eaten with the bones
- Foods, like pasta, rice, and vegetables cooked in water
Children and Fluoride
The earlier children are exposed to and begin using fluoride, the better their teeth will be protected from cavities. As a replacement for juice, which will definitely contribute to cavities as well as weight gain, water is ideal. Kids as young as three-years-old should be using fluoride toothpaste, although the amount should be extremely small. They will also be getting fluoride from the water they drink.
Giving younger children, even those under one-year-old, water is the best way to have them obtain fluoride. You will need to check with your pediatrician to make sure water from the tap is safe for your infant. You may be able to purchase bottled water with fluoride if you live in an area where the water is not safe for your baby.
Risks of Fluoride
Too much fluoride can cause a number of health problems, some more harmful than others. Your dentist will be able to determine if you have had too much fluoride with a simple test.
The dangers of too much fluoride include:
- Thyroid issues
- Skin issues, including acne and eczema
- Neurological issues
- Low fertility and other reproductive issues
- High blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues
- Bone issues
- And many other illnesses
It is best to discuss your diet and drinking habits with your dentist before agreeing to a fluoride therapy treatment. You will find him or her knowledgeable about how much fluoride is good for you and when the best time to apply it again.