Fluorides: An Introduction
The structure of the enamel (the white layer of the tooth) consists of closely tied minerals. Minerals are gained by and lost from the enamel on daily basis. When living bacteria residing in the mouth react with saliva and food particles, plague is generated which decays the minerals present in the tooth enamel.
The process is termed as demineralization. When demineralization reaches to a height, where the enamel becomes deficient of a particular material, tooth cavities occur. Fluoride helps in strengthening and thickening the white enamel of the teeth and acting as a shield against the plague bacteria which affects the white enamel of the tooth by causing tooth decay. Fluoride treatments have been used by the dentists from years. Dentists recommend fluoride-rich toothpaste for maintaining healthy oral hygiene for its effective results.
Apart from the toothpaste which has less concentration of fluoride, dentists also recommend fluoride treatment. These involve dispensing fluoride in high concentration via a foam, varnish or a gel using a cotton swab or a brush. The treatment is recommended once within 3-12 months, depending upon the condition and requirement of the patient. After the completion of one session, the patient is asked to not to consume anything for 30 minutes in order to ensure, that the fluoride is being absorbed by the enamel and gums.
Why is the treatment needed?
Though the basic reason for recommending such is the suspicion of occurrence or presence of a dental cavity, the need for fluoride treatment may arise in the following cases too:
• Excessive intake of carbohydrates and sugar in your diet
Tooth enamel is highly sensitive to acids. Carbohydrates and sugar are highly acidic and hence, affect the enamel adversely, increasing the risks of plague and tarter. In such a case, you might require fluoride treatment as a precaution against a tooth cavity.
• Poor dental hygiene
In most cases, dental decay occurs because of lifestyle problems. Lack of attention and improper care of dental hygiene may cave way for various gum problems tooth decay. Hence, fluoride is recommended as a tool of dental care.
• Inadequate presence of fluorides
Inadequate presence of natural fluoride in the body, as a result of deficiency or disorders, may give rise to the need for fluoride to avoid dental problems.
• Previous tooth decay records
If there has been any previous history of dental decay, fluoride treatment is recommended in order to avoid re-occurrence in the future.
Benefits of fluoride treatment
1. Protection against tooth decay
Fluorides are a shield against tooth decay. They act as a prevention against dental cavities.
As they say, prevention is better than cure and so, prevention is affordable than cure. Root canal treatments and fillings cost much higher than fluorides. Hence, regular fluoride treatments are much economical than other cavity treatments.
3. Suitable for all age groups
Fluoride treatment is not restricted to a particular age group and even an infant of a year can be exposed to such treatments. As a matter of fact, fluorides are recommended to children until 16 years of age in every dentist visit.
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