Most of us know that we should brush our teeth twice a day and floss once a day to keep our teeth clean and cavity-free. However, there’s actually another, very easy way to keep your teeth free from decay – fluoride treatments. Applying a varnish of this naturally occurring mineral to your pearly whites, can give them extra protection from cavities and make them stronger. This material can be applied quickly at your regular checkups and cleanings. To strengthen your teeth today, contact us to schedule an appointment.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including the oceans. More often than not, your tap water even contains fluoride. Fluoride is also available in toothpaste, mouth rinses, and dietary supplements. It has been shown to help rebuild tooth enamel and even reverse early signs of tooth decay. Dr. Myles, your dentist in Reston, can also apply a topical fluoride treatment to your teeth to give your pearly whites a boost of strength in the fight against cavities.
What You Can Expect During Fluoride Treatment
Topical fluoride treatments only take a few minutes and are usually the final order of business at your regular checkups. The mineral comes in the form of a varnish, gel, or foam. Typically, your dental hygienist will apply the fluoride using a special brush or swab. After the fluoride has been applied, wait at least 30 minutes to eat or drink anything. This will give the fluoride plenty of time to be absorbed into your enamel and works its magic.
Fluoride Treatment FAQs
How long after fluoride treatment can I brush?
After fluoride treatment patients should wait at least six hours before brushing their teeth. This gives time for sensitivity to settle.
Can I eat with fluoride on my teeth?
Patients should wait at least 2 hours after treatment before eating. This gives the fluoride treatment time to settle and effectively remove stains.
Is it safe to swallow fluoride treatment?
Fluoride treatment is safe to use and can prevent tooth decay. Very little fluoride is used and less is accidentally swallowed, so it is entirely safe.
How long is fluoride varnish effective?
Fluoride varnish is effective for months at a time. It is typically applied every 3 to 4 months for best results.
Benefits of Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride helps repair weakened enamel by replenishing lost phosphate and calcium in a process known as remineralization. These minerals also help make your teeth resistant to future decay.
Topical fluoride treatments applied by Dr. Myles are especially beneficial for people with poor oral health, whether that be due to dry mouth, weak enamel, or other medical conditions like diabetes that leave you at a higher risk for decay.
Dr. Myles can even apply fluoride to children. Don’t worry, though – he won’t apply nearly enough to cause fluorosis. This is a condition that causes white spots on permanent teeth if too much fluoride is ingested during childhood. Dr. Myles will only give your child enough fluoride to safely strengthen their pearly whites.
Depending on the state of your oral health, we might recommend a topical fluoride treatment every 6-12 months. If you are at a higher risk for decay, we may prescribe fluoride supplements or gels to take to provide you with a little extra boost in the daily battle against tooth decay.