Monday, August 17, 2015

Fluoride is not just for kids !

           Did you think fluoride treatments were just for  kids?  Should you consider supplemental fluoride treatments? The answer is "maybe". After all, most dental insurance only covers in-office fluoride treatments for children under the age of 18.
Unfortunately, just because we're adults, that does not mean we've become magically immune to tooth decay (Caries). And just because your insurance plan doesn't pay for it, that doesn't mean it wouldn't be a benefit to you.  Adults who have an elevated risk for caries should have that risk assessed, and additional fluoride can be a very effective preventive intervention.

There are several reasons an adult might require extra fluoride. Many of the prescription medications we take can reduce saliva flow or otherwise create dry mouth.  Patients who have undergone radiation treatment for cancer also have significantly decreased salivary flow, because radiation damages the salivary glands. Saliva neutralizes acids in the mouth, and also contains antibodies and other immune system factors, so any reduction in saliva increases the risk of tooth decay.

Adults often experience gum recession, which exposes part of the root surface of teeth. These areas are softer than the hard enamel at the top of the tooth, which makes them more susceptible to decay.

Today many people opt for orthodontic treatment (braces) as adults. Braces make it more challenging for patients to maintain good oral hygiene. Just ask your kids! Fluoride can keep the teeth strong and cavity-free even with the obstacle of orthodontic appliances.
Have you had a restoration done within the last year due to new decay? If you have, that puts you at a higher risk for cavities. Fluoride treatments are a great way to prevent more cavities in patients who are already prone to them.

Fluoride can also help with the growing problem of sensitive teeth. Diets high in acidic foods and beverages, general gum recession, and increased use of whitening products all tend to produce tooth sensitivity. Fluoride treatments re-mineralize tooth enamel and reduce that sensitivity.

If one or more of these conditions applies to you, consider requesting a topical fluoride treatment.

Some Helpful Informatiuon from the American Dental Association about Fluoride Supplementation.