Facts About Adult Fluoride Treatments

Iqaluit Dental Clinic image of a person getting fluoride applied to their teeth
February 8, 2023 0 Comments

At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we believe fluoride treatments can help build and support strong teeth and prevent cavities. Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally available in food and water which helps to prevent tooth decay by making the tooth enamel more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria, plaque, and food debris.

Fluoride also helps to keep the enamel healthy by aiding the process of remineralisation of the teeth. Now, you can use fluoridated mouth rinses and toothpaste on your own to keep your teeth healthy but these only have a low concentration of fluoride. To receive a high concentration of fluoride and enjoy all the benefits associated with it, you have to visit a dental clinic and opt for fluoride treatments.

What to expect during a professional fluoride treatment?

During a fluoride treatment, your dentist will apply a highly-concentrated dose of fluoride to your teeth in the form of gel, rinse, varnish, or foam with the help of a brush, swab, or tray. Generally, gels are applied via mouth guard or can be painted, foams are put into a mouth guard which can take anywhere between 1 to 4 minutes, and varnishes are painted on the teeth.

The treatment process can be completed within 30 minutes during which period you will have to avoid drinking or eating. Additionally, your dentist might recommend fluoride supplements such as tablets or liquids.

The benefits of fluoride treatments

Let’s look at the benefits of fluoride treatments below:

1. It can help to maintain good oral hygiene – Fluoride treatments allow the teeth to reabsorb important minerals such as calcium and phosphate which have been lost during acid attacks by bacteria to repair weak tooth enamel and restore tooth structure.

Additionally, it can benefit people who are at risk of developing dry mouth conditions, gum diseases and have a history of frequent cavities. This can help to reduce tooth pain, prevent tooth sensitivity, and prevent the risk of gum diseases. Thus, it can allow you to maintain good dental hygiene.

2. It can strengthen tooth structure and prevent damage to the teeth – When your teeth absorb the fluoride, it becomes stronger and becomes more resistant to harmful bacteria and plaque. Thus, it can stop the growth of harmful bacteria, create a stronger outer surface of your teeth, and prevent further cavities

3. It can prevent or delay expensive dental work – Fluoride treatment can prevent premature loss of tooth and tooth cavities which can lead to expensive dental work such as root canal treatments, dental implants, and more.

How effective is fluoride treatment for adults?

Fluoride treatment can be very effective for adults who are at a moderate-to-high risk of developing dental problems such as tooth decay and cavities. It can also be effective for adults who have not received fluoride treatment as a child.

Adults who live in a region where the water does not contain fluoride can enjoy more benefits from periodic fluoride treatments. Typically, it is recommended adults who are at risk of developing dental cavities and tooth decay get professional fluoride treatment done every 6 months to a year. Still, the effectiveness of the treatment will depend on various factors such as their daily lifestyle, doses and concentrations, and frequency of treatment.

Should children undergo fluoride treatments?

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children should undergo fluoride treatments once their teeth begin to grow in order to prevent dental infections, decay, pain, and cavity in the future. Typically, fluoride treatment should be repeated every 3 to 6 months.

In fact, infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years can benefit greatly when exposed to fluoride in adequate amounts since it is the period during which their primary and permanent teeth begin to grow.

However, children under the age of 3 should be kept under supervision while brushing their teeth since overexposure to fluoride can also create problems. It is best to let them use no more than a rice-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste under the age of 3 years old and no more than a pea-sized amount for ages 3 to 6.

Does fluoride treatment have any side effects?

A few possible side effects of fluoride treatments include:

1. Allergies and irritation – On rare occasions, fluoride treatment can result in an allergic reaction or skin irritation in people who are allergic to fluoride.

2. Tooth discolouration – The primary side effect of overexposure to fluoride appears in the form of tooth discolouration. This condition is known as fluorosis. Typically, it occurs in children who accidentally swallow toothpaste or consume fluoride supplements before the age of eight.

The symptoms of fluorosis include staining, pitting, and the appearance of white specks on mature teeth. In extreme cases, it can lead to bone homeostasis or weak and dense bones.

3. Toxic effects – Fluoride can be toxic in large doses and usually occur in children who accidentally swallow foam or gels. The symptoms of acute fluoride toxicity include nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, tiredness, and excessive sweating.

Usually, there is minimal chance of suffering from acute fluoride toxicity when fluoride treatment is done correctly by a professional. However, it is still suggested children under 6 years old not be allowed to get a professional fluoride varnish.

The recommended daily amounts of fluoride intake that is safe and effective are listed below:

  • Birth to 3 years of age – 0.1 to 1.5 milligrams (mg)
  • 4 to 6 years of age – 1 to 2.5 mg
  • 7 to 10 years of age – 1.5 to 2.5 mg
  • Adolescents and adults – 1.5 to 4 mg

At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we suggest you consult your dentist before opting for fluoride treatment if you have a history of suffering from allergies. Generally, fluoride treatment is safe and effective for most adults and can allow you to reap many dental health benefits and maintain good oral hygiene. Additionally, it is recommended you follow good brushing practices to remove plaque, food debris, and bacteria from the tooth surface to keep them healthy and prevent the risk of cavities and gum diseases.