Adults Need Fluoride Too
Do adults need fluoride treatments? You might think that is something you grow out of after childhood. But these days, our Alabama Family Dentistry’s dentists and hygienists recommend fluoride treatments for adult patients because of its significant benefit for adults who have moderate to high risk for cavities.
Do I Need Extra Fluoride Protection?
Using a toothpaste with added fluoride is recommended for daily use, but there are several circumstances that warrant extra fluoride protection among adults.
Reduced Saliva Flow. Many prescription medications, disease such as diabetes, as well as cancer radiation treatments reduce saliva flow or otherwise create a dry mouth condition, which increases cavity risk as bits of food that are fuel for decay causing bacteria cannot be washed away naturally. If you are experiencing dry mouth, try using a fluoride mouthwash. It can help to moisten your mouth and protect your teeth. Topical fluoride can also help take up the slack where saliva leaves off.
Gum Recession. Exposed tooth root surfaces may occur as an effect of gum recession. These softer areas are more susceptible to decay than parts of the tooth covered with intact enamel. To protect your teeth’s roots, your dentist can paint a fluoride varnish or gel on them. You can use a fluoride mouthwash or a prescription fluoride gel to get more fluoride.
Restorative Dental Work. Have you had new tooth decay within the last year that has resulted in a new restoration? You probably are in a high risk category for cavities. Fluoride treatments can help prevent the development of further decay in patients who are already prone to them. In addition, when adults have restorative work such as crowns or bridges completed, fluoride treatment can help protect the margins of these restorations, potentially allowing the remnants of the tooth to remineralize, ultimately prolonging the life and value of this financial investment.
Adult Braces. We are seeing larger numbers of adults with braces, which makes oral hygiene more challenging. Fluoride can get under and in-between the orthodontic appliances where plaque can form to keep teeth strong and cavity-free.
Flossing Procrastination. Is flossing something you keep telling yourself you’ll make time to do tomorrow? Fluoride can keep your teeth strong and cavity free even in the face of deferred maintenance. Tomorrow is another day…
Sensitive Teeth. There are many causes of tooth sensitivity – diets high in acidic foods, hot/cold beverages, nerve exposure from gum recession, and increased use of whitening products. Fluoride treatments have the capability to re-mineralize tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity.
What Sources of Fluoride are Available?
Risk of dental decay can be curbed by:
• Use of over the counter fluoride products including toothpaste, which delivers about 1,000 parts per million of fluoride, and mouth rinses which provide about 250 parts per million. Both can be used twice a day.
• Good Oral hygiene – brushing twice a day and floss daily
• Control frequent snacking and fermentable carbohydrate intake
• Add an antimicrobial toothpaste and mouthwash to your daily routine
If one of these risk conditions applies to you, and your dentist at Alabama Family Dentistry feels you are at increased risk for dental decay, you may be prescribed at-home prescription gel treatments with 1,000 parts per million to 5,000 parts per million fluoride content based on your particular needs and risk of dental decay. For the greatest protection, an in-office fluoride treatment might be an option for delivering high fluoride levels ranging from 9,000 parts per million to 20,000 parts per million. Your teeth will either be painted with a gel or mouth guards filled with gel or foam inserted into your mouth and worn for one to four minutes. Another choice is a fluoride varnish or gel on the roots of your teeth.
Remember to visit Alabama Family Dentistry twice a year at one of our four offices serving Central Alabama located in Warrior, Sumitron, Gardendale and Birmingham for an exam and cleaning, so if you are cavity prone we can supplement your resistance to decay with one of the available fluoride treatment options. The use of fluoride and good oral hygiene practices can ensure that your teeth remain healthy as you age.