Fluoride 一 an ionic form of fluorine 一 is a mineral found in natural water sources, but you probably recognize it for its use in dental settings. Fluoride is in all toothpastes with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, and it’s available as a topical application during routine dental cleanings.
Fluoride treatments are an important part of making sure your teeth are not only beautiful, but healthy as well. Yet there are a lot of rumors surrounding the use of fluoride and fluoride treatments, and you might be wary.
For the sake of your oral health, it’s important to separate fact from fiction to make informed decisions about your dental care. In this blog, Kevin Miller, DDS, and our team at Dentistry in Paradise in Santa Barbara, California, debunk common myths and present the facts about fluoride treatments.
Myth 1: Fluoride treatments are only for kids
Fact: While it's true that fluoride treatments are essential for children's developing teeth, they’re beneficial for adults as well. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and strengthens enamel, the outer surface of your teeth, making it a valuable tool in the fight against cavities for people of all ages.
That’s why the Dentistry in Paradise team recommends fluoride treatments to adults who are at higher risk of developing cavities.
Myth 2: Fluoride is harmful to your health
Fact: Fluoride is safe when used in appropriate concentrations. In fact, it occurs naturally in water sources and is an essential mineral for maintaining strong teeth.
The American Dental Association stresses that the fluoride used in both topical and systemic dental treatments is carefully regulated to ensure safety. When Dr. Miller applies it to your teeth, it poses no significant health risks and can significantly reduce the risk of tooth decay.
While normal use of fluoride isn’t harmful, it is true that too much fluoride can cause issues, such as fluorosis or acute fluoride poisoning. These conditions are unlikely to occur as a result of normal fluoride use. Always use fluoride supplements as directed. In the case of accidental overdose, call the poison control center at 800-222-1222.
Myth 3: Fluoride treatments are unnecessary if you brush and floss your teeth
Fact: Brushing and flossing are pillars of good oral hygiene, but you don’t need to wait for problems to appear before you consider fluoride treatments. Fluoride treatments add another layer of defense against tooth decay by applying a concentrated dose of fluoride directly to your teeth.
A fluoride treatment helps to remineralize your enamel and make it more resistant to acid attacks from cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth.
The amount of fluoride in toothpaste is lower than what is used in professional fluoride treatments. Likewise, the fluoride in drinking water is lower than what is used in fluoride treatments. Good oral hygiene and getting regular treatments can provide the best defense against cavities and tooth decay.
Myth 4: Fluoride treatments are painful
Fact: Fluoride treatments are painless and straightforward. Your provider applies the fluoride as a gel, foam, or varnish directly to your teeth, and the process is quick and comfortable.
Myth 5: All fluoride treatments are the same
Fact: There are many different types of fluoride treatments, and Dr. Miller recommends the one that best suits your needs. Common options include:
- In-office topical treatments
- Prescription toothpaste
- Prescription mouthwash (also called therapeutic mouthwash)
- Over-the-counter fluoride products
When recommending the right fluoride treatments for you, Dr. Miller considers your age, oral health, and specific risk factors.
Myth 6: You only need fluoride treatments if you have dental problems
Fact: Fluoride treatments aren’t exclusive to people with dental issues. They’re a preventive measure to keep your teeth healthy and cavity-free. Even if you have excellent oral hygiene, fluoride treatments can provide extra protection against potential future problems. What’s not to love about a little extra protection?
Schedule your next cleaning, and ask about fluoride
Fluoride treatments are a safe and effective way to maintain your oral health and prevent cavities. Don't let common myths stop you from taking advantage of the cavity-preventing power of fluoride treatments.
If you have questions about fluoride or you’d like to schedule your next dental cleaning, call our office at 805-967-0272.