Cavities are one of the most common dental issues. While usually associated most often among children, they can affect anyone of any age. A vast majority of adults have developed at least one cavity in their permanent teeth in their lifetime. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits are essential for helping to prevent the formation of tooth decay and cavities. For many individuals, these habits are enough to keep their teeth healthy. There are some individuals, however, who are more prone to cavities than others. In these instances, the patient may benefit from our in-office fluoride treatments.
Am I at Risk for Cavities?
While tooth decay and cavities can impact anyone, there are several factors that can increase your risk.
These factors include:
- Poor oral hygiene. This is one of the leading causes of tooth decay and cavities. Brushing and flossing are essential for keeping plaque and bacteria to a minimum. When you ignore your oral hygiene, these substances accumulate, allowing the acids to erode your tooth enamel.
- Crooked teeth are harder to clean, providing an ideal location for plaque and bacteria to accumulate.
- Using tobacco products.
- Consuming too much alcohol.
- Dry mouth, which is a side effect of EVERY ONE of the top 200 prescriptions!
- Continually sucking on sugary candy to alleviate the dry mouth.
- Drinking highly acidic beverages: some of these are obvious, like Coke and Pepsi products, but some that might surprise you, like bottled water under the brand names Dasani and Aquafina (also bottled by Coke and Pepsi). Bottled waters, along with traditional sugary carbonated beverages and even diet drinks, without sugar, can be highly acidic and erode the enamel on your teeth, leaving them susceptible to decay. Try drinking water with a higher pH. (In general, spring water, distilled water, and even tap water) may have a higher pH to better protect your teeth. Drinking a beverage quickly is also better for your teeth than sipping on an acidic beverage over a long period of time because you are “bathing” the teeth in acid and sugar for an extended period.
- Consumption of candy, especially highly acidic (sour) candy, can be particularly harmful to enamel because not only is it providing sugar for the harmful bacteria to feed on, the acidic environment is helping weaken the enamel, making it more vulnerable.
Fortunately, at LakeView Dental Arts, we can recommend some products and habits to help protect and counteract the above risk factors.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is an element that occurs naturally in your teeth, much like calcium and phosphate, and is essential for their strength. However, a natural process called demineralization causes fluoride and other minerals to be removed from your teeth. Fortunately, remineralization can help to restore fluoride and other minerals, which helps to keep your teeth healthy and strong. As long as the same amount of fluoride is being replaced as the amount that is being lost, your teeth remain healthy. It is when you are losing more fluoride than you are replacing that decay begins to develop.
The Importance of Fluoride
Fluoride is an essential element for the strength of your teeth. It aids in protecting your tooth enamel from the acid attacks of plaque and bacteria, as well as acidic foods and beverages. Fluoride aids in preventing acid erosion, which helps to prevent the formation of decay and cavities. In cases where decay has not yet turned into a cavity, fluoride can even be used to reverse the decay and restore the strength of the teeth.
Protecting Your Teeth with Fluoride Treatments
You can find fluoride in treated tap water as well as in trace amounts in certain foods. There is also a wide array of fluoridated oral care products to help protect your teeth. When these sources are not enough, such as if you are at high risk for cavities or if you frequently get cavities, we can provide fluoride treatments to help prevent caries lesions. These treatments are quick, simple, and painless. After a dental cleaning, we paint a fluoride varnish on the surfaces of your teeth. The fluoride in the gel absorbs directly into your enamel, where it immediately goes to work, strengthening your enamel. That is all there is to the treatment! We do recommend, however, that you avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 30 minutes following the application of your treatment. This helps to ensure optimal results from your treatments.
Schedule Your Appointment
Fluoride is an essential element in protecting your teeth from the development of tooth decay and cavities. If you are prone to cavities, fluoride treatment can help to provide you with additional protection. Call LakeView Dental Arts today at (865) 376-9687 for more information and to find out if fluoride treatments are right for you.