Before we answer the question asked in the headline, it may be beneficial to answer a more defining question …
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water and a variety of foods. It is one of the minerals that are added to — and lost from — your teeth each day during a process known as demineralization. During this process, minerals are lost when acids from the foods you eat, the drinks you drink, and the elements in your body’s natural saliva, attack the enamel layer of a tooth. When this happens, it can leave a tooth susceptible to damage and decay.
Fluoride helps combat the demineralizing of a tooth’s enamel by providing minerals back into the enamel layers. This process is performed through a fluoride treatment at a dental office near you and is most commonly recommended for pediatric patients who’ve not yet mastered the practice of good oral hygiene. However, it can play a role in adult dentistry, as well.
Treatment is recommended for patients of all ages who experience frequent cavities. Also, adults who are experiencing gum disease or periodontal disease can benefit from an added boost of fluoride to provide an added layer of protection to exposed roots of their teeth. And although it’s possible to purchase fluoride-fortified toothpaste and mouthwashes over-the-counter, a professional dental cleaning and fluoride treatment from a dental professional contains a significantly higher percentage of fluoride.
One of the best things about professional fluoride treatment is that it only takes a few minutes to complete. The application process consists of a fluoride foam, gel or varnish applied directly to your teeth with a soft brush or cotton swab. In some cases, it may be administered in the form of a rinse. However, whichever application is used, you can be assured that the process is completely harmless – except against battling tooth decay!