We are almost all familiar with fluoride treatments that children receive each time they come in for their regular cleanings and checkups. However, no matter what age a patient is, their teeth will benefit from fluoride treatment – even the elderly.
What Is Fluoride?
Used to protect teeth from dental caries (cavities), fluoride is a mineral that can be applied as a gel or a varnish. It is designed to strengthen tooth enamel, and is actually found in many foods and even drinking water. By applying fluoride at regular cleanings, the teeth are being given the opportunity to become more resistant to those acid attacks. It can even reverse decay.
Using fluoride on children, especially after their permanent teeth come in, helps create a better barrier against bacteria and acids in sugar that they consume.
Why Do Adults Need Fluoride?
Like children, adults consume sugary drinks and acidic foods. They also have bacteria in their mouths that attack tooth enamel. However, unlike children, adults have crowns, fillings, and other types of restorative work. These can have leaky margins, especially if they are older restorations, making it much easier for bacteria to get inside and eat away at what might remain of the repaired teeth. Fillings may have cracked, giving way to acid and giving the tooth a higher probability of a cavity, and possibly costing the patient even more money down the road when that tooth needs to be fixed again.
Without added protection, adults are even more susceptible to decay. Regular fluoride treatments can help protect their teeth just like it protects those of children.
Most Dental Insurance Doesn’t Cover Adult Fluoride
Of course, dental insurance coverage should never rule over needed oral treatment, which is crucial to overall health. Although adult fluoride treatment is typically not covered by many plans, the cost at Affiliated Dentists is only a nominal fee out of pocket. Since patients only receive the treatment two to three times a year, it is still much less that a potential crown or implant, which can cost thousands of dollars for the patient.
Are There At Home Fluoride Treatments?
There are many different types of fluoride toothpaste that patients can use in between their regular cleanings. However, it is strongly recommended by the friendly dentists and hygiene staff at Affiliated Dentists that all patients receive the professional fluoride treatments offered at the office, regardless of age. This coupled with at home brushing with fluoride toothpaste can help ensure patients’ teeth stay healthy, strong, and protected.
For those at a higher risk of dental cavity your dentist may recommend a prescription toothpaste with additional fluoride. Otherwise ACT® mouth rinse (available over the counter) is a good midday mouthwash that does have fluoride unlike most other mouthwashes.