Elmhurst Dentist Explains the Benefits of Fluoride Treatment

Written by Dr. Scharfenberg on Jun 25, 2012

Elmhurst Dentist Explains the Benefits of Fluoride Treatment

Innovations in dental technology allow dentists to fight dental deterioration effectively and easily. Perhaps one of the most useful tools we have for fighting cavities at home and in the office is fluoride. With proper fluoride treatment patients can enjoy strong, healthy smiles for years to come.

Many patients use fluoride toothpaste without even thinking consciously about it. Additionally, tap water in the United States is fluoridated, so patients benefit from fluoride every time they drink a glass of water. Because most of our fluoride consumption is ingrained in our daily lives, many patients don’t understand how fluoride works or how they should use it properly. Today I’m going to be explaining how fluoride works and who should be using it.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural element that contributes to bone and tooth development. It is naturally found in soil, rocks, and water.  Fluoride strengthens dental enamel—the hard outer part of the tooth. By strengthening and protecting dental enamel, fluoride protects the inner core of the tooth and fights invasive cavities.

Who should use fluoride?

Most adult patients already get adequate fluoride from their daily food and drink. Fluoridated tap water, mouthwashes, and toothpastes supplement daily intake. Children, on the other hand, have more specific needs when it comes to fluoride treatments.

If children ingest large amounts of fluoride while their teeth are developing they could develop dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is a condition in which the dental enamel is stained and pitted. Therefore, children need to be monitored when using fluoride to ensure that they receive enough to contribute to strong teeth without ingesting enough to case dental fluorosis.

In general, children under the age of 18 months should not use fluoridated products at all. Children under the age of 7 years old should use only a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste, and they should be monitored  and taught not to swallow toothpaste. A family dentist can help you determine if your children need additional fluoride from in-office fluoride treatments. These generally take the form of gels or foams, and they are administered in short and painless treatments sessions.

Our Elmhurst family dentists can help you understand how to properly use fluoride at home with your family. Working with our family dentists you can develop a dental treatment plan that incorporates responsible use of fluoride. Give our Elmhurst family dentists a call if you have any questions about fluoride use of family dentistry in general—(630) 733-1624.