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Questions And Answers About Dental Fluoride Treatments

Dental fluoride treatments involve coating the teeth with a fluoride solution. The treatment can be applied as a varnish, foam or gel. The varnish is usually applied by brushing it directly onto the teeth. The gel and foam can be added to a bite tray that resembles a mouth guard. Professional fluoride treatments are generally completed within a few minutes, but the benefits last for months. Here are a few questions and answers about dental fluoride treatments:

How do fluoride treatments prevent tooth decay?

Fluoride treatments prevent decay by strengthening tooth enamel and lowering bacterial counts. 

Oral bacteria release acid as a byproduct of glycolysis, which is their digestive process. This acid dissolves the minerals in tooth enamel to cause tooth decay. However, when fluoride is introduced into the mouth, it coats the tooth enamel and attracts calcium and phosphate ions back to the tooth surface. A new tooth enamel compound forms that is actually harder than the original tooth material.

In addition, fluoride has antibacterial properties. The fluoride causes bacteria to become more sensitive to acid, and the increased sensitivity causes them to stop digesting food and releasing more demineralizing acid.

Who can benefit from a fluoride treatment?

If your dentist is regularly discovering new cavities in your teeth, fluoride treatments may help. In addition, people with certain conditions are more susceptible to tooth decay and may benefit from a fluoride treatment. Here are a few conditions that are related to a higher incidence of decay:


People with drymouth suffer from a decline in saliva production. Saliva is used to rinse away plaque and bacteria. In addition, saliva helps dilute decay-causing acid in the mouth. Thus, a decrease in saliva can affect tooth decay.


If you have gum disease, you may suffer from recessed gums. A larger portion of your teeth and roots may be exposed to oral bacteria and associated decay.

Having Braces

It can be difficult to clean around brackets properly. In addition, braces may make it harder to clean along your gum line. Dental decay can occur as a result.

Early Childhood

Young children are at increased risk of tooth decay. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of cavities among children between the ages of two to five increased over 15 percent from 1988-1994 to 1999-2002. 

For people who suffer regularly from tooth decay, dental fluoride treatments may be able to help. Schedule a consultation with a dentist in your area, such as Ellsworth & Day DDS, to determine if fluoride treatments could benefit you.