At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we believe that people of all age groups suffer from the risk of developing tooth cavities and tooth decay and can benefit from fluoride treatment. The risk of developing cavities and other tooth problems will depend on your diet, oral hygiene, eating habits, professional dental care, and more.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it is recommended that children get fluoride treatment as soon as their teeth begin to develop to prevent tooth decay, dental infections, and pain. However, many people wonder whether they should get fluoride treatments as adults. Let’s look at all the essential details that you need to know about adult fluoride treatments so that you can make a more informed decision.
What does fluoride treatment involve?
Fluoride treatment involves the application of highly concentrated fluoride in the form of gel, rinse, foam, and varnish. Your dentist will use a brush, swab, mouthwash, or tray to apply the concentrated fluoride on your teeth to improve their health and keep it protected from cavities and tooth decay.
The whole process can be completed in under a few minutes, but you have to allow about 30 minutes for your body to fully absorb the fluoride. That means no eating or drinking during this period.
What are the benefits of fluoride treatment?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fluoridated water has helped to reduce tooth decay by about 25 per cent. Various studies conducted by the American Dental Association have proven the effectiveness of fluoride in preserving the enamel of your teeth and keeping it protected from bad bacteria.
In fact, it has been observed that children and adolescents who were exposed to fluoride from an early age were less likely to develop cavities and tooth decay. Let’s look at how fluoride treatments help to maintain healthy teeth below:
1. It improves mineral absorption – Fluoride treatments enable your body to reabsorb essential minerals such as calcium and phosphate quickly so that they can repair the weak points in enamel.
2. It strengthens the tooth structure – When fluoride is absorbed by the teeth, it helps to strengthen the tooth structure and makes it less vulnerable to harmful bacteria that release acids and cause tooth decay.
3. It prevents premature loss of teeth – The development of cavities and tooth decay can not only lead to toothache and frustration but also cause a premature loss of teeth. Since fluoride treatments help to prevent cavities, it lowers the risk of premature tooth loss.
4. It helps to avoid expensive dental work – Dental problems such as tooth decay, cavity, tooth loss, and more will require expensive dental care. You might have to get root canal treatments and even dental implants when you don’t receive early treatment or neglect proper dental care. Fluoride treatment can cost about $10 to $30 for adults, which is cheaper than costly dental procedures.
Thus, you should definitely opt for fluoride treatment if you believe your oral health needs a boost. Generally, it is recommended that adolescents and adults receive about 1.5mg to 4mg of fluoride every day. Anything less or more is not okay.
Are fluoride treatments effective for adults?
Professional fluoride treatments can certainly be effective for adults, especially those who are at a moderate-to-high risk of developing tooth decay and cavities. There are many variables that determine how effective professional fluoride treatment can be for adults. These include their daily lifestyle, frequencies of treatment, doses and concentrations, and more.
In fact, fluoride treatments can be more beneficial for people who live in regions where the water doesn’t contain fluoride. Generally, it is recommended that adults get professional fluoride treatments at least twice a year. However, it is critical to discuss the details with your dentist since you have to consider all the other sources of fluoride as well. These include fluoridated toothpaste, mouthwash, water, diet, and more.
Are there any side effects of fluoride?
Too much fluoride can lead to negative side effects. Generally, it can happen due to chronic fluoride overexposure or accidental fluoride overdose.
Let’s look at a few possible side effects of fluoride:
1. Tooth discolouration – Tooth discolouration is the primary side effect of too much fluoride consumption, and it often happens to young children who swallow toothpaste or consume fluoride supplements between the ages of birth to 8 when their baby teeth are still growing. This condition is known as fluorosis.
The common symptoms of fluorosis include white specks on mature teeth and staining and pitting on teeth. In the most severe cases, it can also lead to very dense bones that are not very strong and problems with bone homeostasis. That is why it is recommended that children under the age of 8 always brush their teeth under the supervision of adults or caregivers.
2. Toxic effects – Generally, there is minimal chance of suffering from fluoride toxicity when fluoride treatment is done correctly. Acute fluoride toxicity can occur in children who accidentally swallow gels or foams. The typical symptoms of acute fluoride toxicity include vomiting, nausea, tiredness, diarrhoea, and excessive sweating.
This can be avoided with the use of professional fluoride varnish on children under 6 years old which cannot be accidentally swallowed. For adults, this is even less of a problem.
3. Irritation or allergic reaction – Certain groups of people are allergic to many different things including fluoride. Fluoride treatment is not suitable for people who are allergic to fluoride since it can cause skin irritation and other adverse allergic reactions.
At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we suggest you use fluoride toothpaste for brushing your teeth daily and properly taking care of your dental health. The fluoride present in fluoride toothpaste will be enough to prevent cavities when you follow the proper brushing recommendations and habits. However, if you need to restore minerals to the tooth enamel quickly, you can opt for fluoride treatments. Generally, the side effects of fluoride treatment are rare and minimal for most people. Still, it makes sense to discuss the details of your treatment with your dentist to achieve peace of mind.