Fluoride Therapy is a treatment in which chemical compounds known as fluoride are applied to the teeth and mouth. The chemical combination of fluorine and other elements re-mineralize the teeth and make them more resistant to decay. While small doses of fluoride can be ingested by drinking water and eating healthy foods, dental professionals also fight against tarter-building bacteria by applying fluoride treatments in a more aggressive manner. Once a patient’s vulnerability to decay is assessed, dental professionals will determine what type of fluoride treatments should be administered. Generally, children receive professionally-applied treatments two times a year. Those assessed at a higher risk may be recommended to receive treatments more often. Adults also benefit from fluoride treatments, especially those who more at risk for decay. In these cases, a dentist might recommend fluoride toothpaste or another practical solution that can be incorporated into a daily maintenance routine. To reach optimum results, dentists apply fluoride treatments in two ways:
Topical fluoride treatments are applied directly to the teeth in the form of mouthwash, varnish gel and toothpaste. They can be applied to a child as soon as the teeth erupt and can continue through adulthood. After treatment, fluoride is rinsed and should not be ingested. Using too many topical fluoride treatments in a condensed period of time could cause undesirable side effects, such as stained teeth and sores in the mouth area. For proper use, patients should be treated by a dentist or seek the advice of a medical professional.
Systemic fluoride treatments are swallowed by patients and are available in the forms of water, salt, tablets and drops. They are often used for children even before the first tooth makes an appearance. This type of fluoride treatment is successful on both children and adults.