Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps prevent cavities and build strong teeth. It has been used over the years in oral treatments, as it is one of the best ways to strengthen the tooth enamel. In small children, fluoride may help reverse early signs of tooth decay. In children below six years of age, fluoride is incorporated into the development of permanent teeth.
Who needs fluoride treatments?
People with certain conditions may have an increased risk of tooth decay and may be able to improve their dental health with additional fluoride treatment. Such cases include:
- Dry mouth. If you have dry mouth conditions such as xerostomia, are taking medications such as antihistamines or blood pressure treatments, or are undergoing radiation treatment, you may benefit from fluoride treatment to prevent likely decay.
- Gum disease. People with gum diseases have a higher chance of tooth decay. Dentists will often recommend treatment once they notice signs of gingivitis.
- A history of cavities. If you have a history of cavities, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatment to prevent additional cavities.
- Presence of braces or crowns. These tools increase the risk of decay where they meet the natural tooth. A fluoride treatment can reduce this risk.
Most toothpaste includes fluoride, which offers enough minerals to keep the teeth strong. Tap water also typically contains fluoride to help strengthen teeth. Talk to your dentist if you think fluoride treatments would benefit you.