You've probably heard the same message about daily flossing and brushing regardless of which Atlanta dentist cleans your teeth. Fluoride treatments are another way to keep your teeth healthy, but you should know more about this mineral treatment before making a purchase.
The treatment provides extra protection for your teeth from dental caries, commonly called tooth decay. Using this type of treatment can be tricky. Since 1969, Atlanta has been putting the mineral into the drinking water. Thus, if you're drinking tap water, you're receiving a dose of it every day. Also, this mineral is naturally found in foods such as fish and other beverages such as tea. Sometimes these two sources don't provide enough of the mineral. When using the mineral as a dental treatment, you can purchase an over-the-counter product or undergo a mineral treatment at your Atlanta dentist's office. The type of treatment you choose depends on how healthy your teeth are.
Regardless of what you eat, your tooth's enamel gains and loses minerals through a demineralization and remineralization process. Minerals are lost through the demineralization process from the food and beverages you consume that contain acid. The acid forms the plaque you feel when you run your tongue along your teeth. The plaque attacks the enamel, causing it to deteriorate or form cavities.
However, when you're drinking or eating, you're also consuming phosphate and calcium. These minerals are added during the remineralization process. When you consume too much acid and not enough of the minerals, you have a problem. The imbalance causes an increase in tooth decay. Fluoride helps prevent cavities and repair the existing cavities in the early, microscopic stages. Therefore, using the mineral helps stop the cavities already on your teeth from becoming worse.
Topical treatment forms of the mineral
You can use over-the-counter products called topical forms to improve the health of your teeth. You're probably already using some of the products now. The mineral is added to toothpaste and mouth rinses. The over-the-counter products often have a low concentration of the mineral.
Systemic treatment forms of the mineral
Systemic treatment forms are consumed. For example, when you drink the Atlanta tap water, you're consuming a systemic form of the mineral. You can purchase daily supplements. These supplements are sold in tablets, liquids and lozenges. You take the supplement once a day. A physician or dentist prescribes the daily supplements if you are not drinking water with this mineral.
High risk for tooth decay
If you have a higher risk of developing cavities, your over-the-counter products do not offer enough protection. Here are some factors which may place you in the high-risk group.
If you haven't had regular professional dental care or have poor hygiene or higher than normal levels of caries-causing bacteria in your mouth, you may be in this group. Also, if you have an alcohol or drug abuse problem or any eating disorder, you may be at a higher risk of developing cavities. Other risks include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Exposed surfaces on the root of your teeth
Treatment in a dentist's office
Stronger mineral treatments are available in your dentist's office. The in-office treatments typically take a few minutes. Your dentist applies the mineral directly to your teeth in two ways. He or she uses a cotton swab or places the mineral in a tray. You place the tray, which looks like a tooth guard, in your mouth. The treatment he or she uses may come in the form of a varnish, gel or foam.
Your dentist may require you not to eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes after the treatment is completed. This helps your teeth fully absorb the minerals and repair any tiny cavities on the surface.
Depending on your risk of cavities, you may have to undergo this treatment more than once a year. Typically, treatments are recommended in three, six or 12 month-intervals.
The total amount of this mineral you receive daily includes the amount you consume from foods and beverages. The maximum dose you can ingest daily depends on your weight. Ingesting too much of the mineral can have dangerous health effects for both your teeth and bones. So, ask your dentist what the acceptable amount is to take each day.
Using any additional dental treatment isn't a substitute for daily brushing and flossing. You should continue to go to the dentist regularly for cleaning and check-ups to help keep your teeth healthy. However, if you want extra protection for your teeth, you may want to use this mineral treatment.