Cavities are one of the most common dental issues. Frequently associated with children, cavities can affect anyone, regardless of age. Approximately 91% of adults have suffered at least one cavity in a permanent tooth in their lifetime. While proper oral hygiene practices help to prevent cavities from developing, some people are just more prone than others. At Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry, we can help you to further prevent the formation of decay and cavities with fluoride treatments.
Risk Factors for Decay and Cavities
Tooth decay and cavities can affect anyone. However, there are a few factors that can increase your risk. These factors include
||Poor oral hygiene. This is one of the biggest risk factors for tooth decay and cavities. Brushing and flossing are essential habits for eliminating and removing plaque and bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth. Ignoring these habits can allow these substances to accumulate on your teeth, thereby increasing your risk.
||Crooked teeth. When your teeth are crooked, they are harder to keep clean. These hard to clean areas provide ideal hiding places for plaque and bacteria.
||Lifestyle habits. Tobacco products such as cigarettes and excessive alcohol consumption can both increase your risk.
||Dry mouth. Also called xerostomia, dry mouth is a condition in which you do not have enough saliva in your mouth. This provides an environment that is perfect for bacterial growth.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring element in your teeth. Along with other minerals, such as calcium and phosphate, fluoride is essential for tooth strength. Every day, fluoride and other minerals are lost from your teeth in a process called demineralization. However, these elements can also be replaced in a process called remineralization. When the amount of fluoride replaced is the same as the amount lost, the teeth can remain healthy. However, if you lose more fluoride than you replace, this is when decay is likely to occur.
Why is Fluoride So Important?
Fluoride is crucial for the prevention of tooth decay and cavities. It works with calcium and phosphate to provide your tooth enamel with strength, protecting the teeth from acid erosion. It fights the acids on your teeth, preventing the formation of decay and cavities, and can even go so far as to reverse decay before it has an opportunity to turn into a cavity.
Getting Your Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride can be found in many different sources. It is available in treated tap water and can be found in trace amounts in certain types of food. Many people get fluoride from fluoridated oral care products, such as toothpaste and mouthwashes. For many individuals, these sources are enough to protect the teeth, keeping them healthy and strong. However, if they are not enough, we can help to provide additional protection with fluoride treatments.
Fluoride treatments are incredibly simple and completely painless. Following a dental cleaning, we paint on a fluoride gel. Once on your teeth, the fluoride absorbs directly into your tooth enamel, where it goes to work strengthening your teeth. There is no need to rinse off or remove the gel. It is recommended that you do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes following the application of a fluoride treatment to provide optimal results.
In conjunction with regular brushing and flossing, fluoride treatments can help to protect your teeth from tooth decay and cavities. Call Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry at (623) 562-5230 today to learn more and find out if fluoride treatments are right for you.