Are Fluoride Treatments Safe?

Are Fluoride Treatments Safe?

Your bones need a certain set of minerals to stay strong and healthy. For years, the mineral of choice for OG Dental has been fluoride. It is naturally found in soil, water, and some foods. Water authorities have been consistently adding fluoride to their municipal water supplies. Why is that? So, are fluoride treatments safe? Fluoride has been found to reduce dental cavities in both adults and children, but it also repairs and reverses the early stages of tooth decay. The best dentists in Denver, CO, explain that numerous studies have shown that fluoride strengthens enamel, the protective outer layer of the teeth, and fights off bacteria that harm the teeth and gums.

Adding fluoride to water in areas with low fluoride levels has been found to reduce tooth decay. Tooth decay, which is one of the most common health problems among children, is primarily caused by bacteria buildup on the teeth and gums. This forms a sticky layer called plaque. Plaque produces an acid that corrodes your teeth and gum tissue, causing dental cavities and tooth decay. Once the decay completely breaks down the enamel, bacteria will infect the nerves and blood vessels housed within the pulp.

Although everyone should incorporate fluoride into either their diet and/or oral health care routine, dentists in Denver, CO especially recommend it for people who have a higher risk of developing dental cavities. Fluoride can be found in certain foods and drinks, fluoridated water, fluoride toothpaste, supplements, and fluoride treatment. To get a professional fluoride treatment, you’ll need to search for a “dentist near me.”

What is Fluoride Treatment?

Both natural and synthetic sources of fluoride don't offer much fluoride in terms of volume. It usually takes constant application and some time before the effects are seen. However, a fluoride treatment is a concentrated dose of the essential mineral, usually in the form of a rinse, gel, varnish, or foam. Your Denver Highlands dentist may use a swab, brush, tray, or mouthwash to apply the treatment onto your teeth.

Unlike natural sources, the treatment contains a highly concentrated dose of fluoride, and your dentist will ask you to leave it on your teeth for at least 30 minutes before rinsing your mouth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should have a professional fluoride treatment at OG Dental every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on your oral health. On top of regularly drinking fluoridated water, people at a higher risk of developing cavities may be prescribed a special fluoride rinse or gel for regular at-home use.

Am I At Risk for Developing Cavities?

How do you know if you are at a higher risk of developing cavities? Here are some factors you can consider:

  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • You have an eating disorder.
  • You don't or cannot keep up with dentist appointments.
  • Excessive drug or alcohol use. 
  • Poor Diet
  • Weak enamel
  • Dry mouth or decreased saliva in your mouth. Saliva neutralizes the acid that corrodes the enamel. Less saliva gives you less protection against decay.

Who Can Take Fluoride?

Denver Highland dentists recommend adding fluoride to your oral health regimen from childhood. Even before the teeth break through the gums, fluoride sourced from food, drinks, and supplements harden, making the enamel stronger. This makes it more resistant to decay when it erupts. When it is taken through food and beverages and applied to the teeth through fluoride dental products, the mineral remineralizes (rebuilds) weakened enamel and even reverses the early signs of tooth decay. As you can see, fluoride should be used from childhood to ensure the teeth are strong and adequately protected right from the start.

However, the amount of fluoride will depend on a person's age. The Mayo Clinic recommends the following daily amounts of fluoride:

  • Birth to 3 years of age: 0.1 to 1.5 milligrams (mg)
  • 4 to 6 years of age: 1 to 2.5 mg
  • 7 to 10 years of age: 1.5 to 2.5 mg
  • Adolescents and adults: 1.5 to 4 mg

Side Effects of Fluoride

Despite being seen as a natural defense against dental cavities, fluoride also comes with a small risk. Dr. Kristina Neda, an emergency dentist in Georgetown, KY, explains that fluoride is safe as long as you understand the proper dosage. Once you cross a certain volume, the mineral causes unwanted side effects. They may include:

  • Dental fluorosis, which is white streaks or specks of discoloration on the teeth.
  • Excess fluoride can damage the parathyroid gland, leading to a condition called hyperparathyroidism. This can deplete the calcium in your bones, making them more susceptible to fractures.  
  • Acne and other skin problems.

Being exposed to very high fluoride levels may lead to fluoride poisoning, which causes abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, excessive saliva, seizures, and muscle spasms. However, you are more likely to get fluoride poisoning from drinking contaminated water rather than regular fluoridated water. All in all, fluoride treatments are highly effective at strengthening the teeth, fighting bacteria, and preventing the onset of dental cavities. 

If you are at a higher risk of developing cavities, fluoride will help you alleviate that risk. A professional fluoride treatment will keep your teeth safe from cavities and prevent severe dental issues down the road. Contact OG Dental for preventative dentistry in Denver, CO.