Before you get a fluoride treatment, be sure to get your questions answered.
You may have heard your dentist talk about fluoride and offering a fluoride treatment, but you may be wondering if it’s something you should get? This is a very valid question, and one we get all the time. In this blog post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about fluoride and answer some of our most frequently asked fluoride questions.
What is fluoride?
First and foremost, what is fluoride? Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that helps protect your teeth by maintaining the enamel, or the outside protective coating. For this reason, fluoride treatments are recommended to help prevent tooth decay and keep teeth strong.
Fluoride can be found naturally in water; in fact, some municipalities have even added extra fluoride to the water system because of its benefits. Fluoride can also be found in many of the foods you eat, like strawberries, grapes, potatoes, spinach, seafood, certain teas, and more.
In addition, fluoride is added into many brands of toothpaste and mouthwash. Look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval on the packaging, and double-check the ingredients to make sure fluoride is listed.
Is fluoride beneficial for my oral health?
Absolutely! Many dentists recommend their patients incorporate fluoride in their dental hygiene routines because it can help prevent tooth decay, no matter how old you are. Fluoride helps increase the strength of the tooth’s enamel, and with proper oral hygiene habits, fluoride can help prevent painful, and potentially costly, dental issues later in life, like cavities or worse.
Why get a fluoride treatment?
Many dentists offer fluoride treatments right in their office because they are quick and painless. If your dentist thinks you or your child could benefit from an extra boost of fluoride, they may recommend one to you. This will happen after your dental cleaning and evaluation.
Once your teeth are cleaned, your dentist will paint or apply a varnish of fluoride to your teeth. After it sets for a few minutes, you’ll be ready to go! Sometimes, a special dental light is used to set the fluoride to the teeth. But again, this entire process is quick and painless!
Do I have to wait to eat or drink after a fluoride treatment?
For a fluoride treatment to work, yes, you do need to wait about 30 minutes until you can have anything to eat. This is because your dentist wants to ensure that the fluoride has enough time to bond and dry on your teeth.
If you do need to eat, dentists recommend choosing soft foods, like yogurt, mashed potatoes, or any other food that doesn’t require a lot of chewing as to not interfere with the fluoride treatment.
As for drinks, any cold drink, like water, is fine immediately after a fluoride treatment. Any warm drinks, alcohol, or coffee (yes, even iced) should be avoided for six hours after your fluoride treatment.
When can I brush my teeth?
While brushing your teeth is important, your dentist will recommend you wait at least six hours after your fluoride treatment to brush.
Should I worry about fluorosis?
Many people are worried about a side effect called fluorosis and might shy away from a fluoride treatment because of it, but most dental professionals say it’s nothing to worry about.
Fluorosis is caused by an overexposure to fluoride (via swallowing toothpaste or drinking water with too much fluoride in it) during a child’s developmental years and can cause brown or white specks on teeth, with some being quite noticeable. Fluorosis only affects teeth that haven’t broken through the gums yet, meaning adult teeth that have already come in are not susceptible to it.
Fluorosis is not dangerous and does not affect your overall health, other than the possible discoloration of teeth. Oddly enough, fluorosis can actually strengthen your teeth, and most often, only a dentist would notice the condition.
However, we understand the concern, so if you are worried about fluorosis, discuss it with your dentist, and they can inform you about the risks to your child.
Metro East Dental Care’s Membership Plan has you covered.
Routine dental care can be expensive, but at Metro East Dental Care, we offer membership plans for adults and children that can make good-quality dental care affordable. Our Membership Plan for adults and children includes exams, cleanings, and X-rays twice a year. The children’s membership also includes a yearly fluoride treatment. We also offer a Perio Maintenance Plan, which includes periodontal maintenance every three to four months. All of our plans offer a 10% discount on other dental treatments that may be needed.
If you’re interested in learning more about a fluoride treatment, contact us today! We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.