Fluoride. Why Do We Need It? / HardyPedoOrtho.com in Erie, CO

Fluoride. Why Does Your Child Need It?

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Fluoride Treatment in Erie

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), fluoride is one of the top reasons that tooth decay over the last several years has been significantly reduced. Fluoride has been proven to fight against cavities and tooth decay and is important for both children and adults. Fluoride and fluoridation are effective and safe methods for safeguarding your smile when they are used appropriately. Your team at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics can show you the many benefits and advantages of regular treatments and practices. Make your appointment today to learn more.


Why Fluoride?

The American Dental Association lists five reasons why fluoride is one of the most efficient methods for preventing one of the most common diseases affecting children today–tooth decay. These five reasons are: 1) it prevents tooth decay; 2) protects all age groups from cavities; 3) it is effective and safe; 4) saves money (less to pay for fluoridating water/treatments than to fill cavities); and 5) it’s natural. Fluoride is a natural-occurring mineral found in oceans and groundwater.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named it one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Your team at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics can help you reap the benefits of regular treatments.


What is Fluoride?

So, how does it do it? How does fluoride stake such a large claim in the fight against tooth decay? First, it is a mineral compound containing fluorine–which is a naturally occurring element. It is a powerful agent against tooth decay because it makes the tooth more resistant to plaque and acid–which assail your teeth every time you eat or drink. Your tooth’s enamel layer is leeched of vital minerals everyday when plaque bacteria and sugars turn acidic on your teeth and launch an attack on it to feed their desire to grow and spread.  Over time, if you are not replacing these lost minerals, your teeth will begin to lose the fight and decay. Fluoride restores these vital minerals and nutrients to your teeth strengthening the enamel against future attacks.  


Who Needs Fluoride?

Adults and children need fluoride. Even infants and toddlers can benefit.  During the ages of 6 months to 16 years fluoride use is critical because of developing and erupting permanent teeth.  Setting a strong foundation of healthy teeth will influence how your permanent teeth develop and their strength.


What Fluoride Options Do I Have?

Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics offers a few different fluoride options at our Erie office. The treatment we recommend for you will be determined by your age and other factors.  For children, Dr. Nam recommends a topical varnish that is much easier to use than traditional rinses, foams and trays. This varnish can be easily applied with a cotton swab or brush,  through a rinse solution, or placed in a tray that is held in your mouth for a few minutes. You will be instructed not to eat or drink for at least 30 minutes following a treatment so that your teeth will have adequate time to absorb the fluoride and repair microscopic areas.  Absorption will typically continue over a period of 24 hours and is the last process of a regular dental cleaning.


Warning Signs That I Need More Fluoride?

The American Dental Association has listed certain conditions that put you at more risk for developing decay or cavities and increase your need of fluoride treatments. These conditions include:  

  • lack of regular professional dental care
  • active orthodontic treatment combined with poor oral hygiene
  • high levels of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth
  • exposed root surfaces of teeth
  • decreased salivary flow, resulting in dry mouth
  • poor diet
  • poor oral hygiene
  • active cavities
  • eating disorders
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • existing restorations (fillings)
  • tooth enamel defects
  • undergoing head and neck radiation therapy

Routine examinations with Dr. Nam will help you fight these conditions and keep your mouth healthy.  Our expert staff is here to help you receive what you need to not only maintain your health but to achieve optimum oral health.


How Often Do I Need a Fluoride Treatment?

High-risk conditions necessitate that you receive treatments more often than the average patient. Some conditions will require that you receive a treatment every three, six or 12 months.  If you are at high risk for tooth decay, after you have completed a comprehensive examination and consultation with Dr. Nam, it may be recommended that additional preventive measures are taken.  Over-the-counter or prescription therapeutic products such as fluoride mouth rinses, gels or antibacterial mouth rinses can be effective at helping keep your tooth enamel strong and your mouth healthy.

Consult with a member of our Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics team before purchasing any over-the-counter fluoride products that we haven’t recommended to you. These products are NOT all the same.  Reputable products will carry the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance which ensures that they have been carefully screened by the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs and have met the criteria for safety and effectiveness.  Even then, it is vital that you follow the instructions carefully and keep them away from young children. Too much fluoride can have disastrous (and permanent) effects on your teeth.


But My Water is Fluoridated, Do I Still Need Treatment?

Luckily, in the United States, most city water supplies are fluoridated. 62% of the U.S. population that uses public water supplies has access to adequate levels.  While fluoride is also found in toothpastes, and mouth rinses, the concentration from these sources is very small and should not be your only source.  Treatments used in our Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics office give you a much more concentrated dose and produce results that will help you stand up to tooth decay. Studies show that children who receive regular treatments–once every 6 months–have up to 40% fewer cavities than those who do not receive this treatment.


Schedule Your Fluoride Treatment Today

Professional fluoride treatments are an integral part of preventing cavities and periodontal disease and helping you maintain a healthy, white smile. To learn more about our treatments or to schedule an appointment, call our Erie office today at 720-887-6003. Safeguarding the health of your teeth involves dedicated effort, expert training, and effective tools and treatments. Fluoride treatments are just one of the many ways our team at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics is working to keep your mouth healthy and your body healthy.