Importance of Fluoride for Oral Health
Fluoride treatment is one of the most important services we offer here at Sierra Kids Dentistry. Despite common misconceptions, introducing fluoride to your child’s oral health is one of the best ways to ensure a lifetime of healthy, beautiful teeth. It is the reason most toothpaste contains fluoride. It is the reason that almost every dental office offers a professional fluoride treatment, including ours.
How Fluoride Protects Your Child’s Teeth
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral found in water and certain foods. There are two types of fluoride treatment: topical and systemic. Topical fluorides are applied directly to the surfaces of the tooth, while systemic fluoride comes in the form of an oral supplement that strengthens the teeth from within.
Every day, our teeth lose and gain minerals through the process of demineralization and remineralization. Demineralization occurs when the bacteria in our mouth feed off the sugars and other simple carbohydrates we consume. As these bacteria feed, they produce acids that attack the enamel. Remineralization occurs when we consume foods and beverages that deposit crucial minerals back into the enamel.
If the process of demineralization exceeds remineralization tooth decay will occur. Fluoride treatment, whether it is topical or systemic, supplements the process of remineralization. In other words, fluoride prevents and even reverses minor instances of decay.
Professional Fluoride Treatment
Professional fluoride treatment may be a regular part of your child’s appointments with us. These appointments typically include a comprehensive exam, professional cleaning, and fluoride treatment. We may also recommend additional preventive measures such as dental sealants if your child is at particularly high risk for tooth decay.
The actual fluoride procedure only takes a few minutes. Topical fluoride comes in several forms, including gels, varnish, foam, and rinses. Since we are a pediatric office, our topical fluorides come in kid-friendly flavors to make the experience more enjoyable.
If the fluoride comes in a varnish form, we typically use a cotton swab or brush to paint the substance onto the enamel. If we use a fluoride foam or gel, we utilize a tray that is held in the mouth for a few minutes. Once the treatment is complete, we will remove the tray and rinse out any remaining fluoride debris.
For the next 30 minutes to an hour, be sure your child does not eat or drink anything. The fluoride needs time to absorb into the enamel and reverse minor instances of decay.
Does Your Child Need Fluoride Treatment?
During your child’s routine appointment, our doctors will assess their risk of tooth decay. If they are at a higher risk, we may recommend more frequent fluoride treatments. Depending on the status of your child’s oral health, we may recommend fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months.
Some of these risk factors include:
|Poor brushing and flossing techniques
|Poor diet high in sugars and starches
|Infrequent appointments with a pediatric dentist
|Active dental caries (tooth decay)
|Elevated levels of bacteria in the mouth
|Existing fillings or other restorations
|Low levels of saliva
|Tooth enamel defects
|Misalignments, such as crowded or rotated teeth
Schedule Your Child’s Appointment
Treating cavities is important, but preventing them is ideal. Call (775) 473-1247 to schedule your child’s appointment today!