Cavities are an incredibly common dental issue. While they are commonly associated with children, even adults can develop them. Cavities develop when the acids from plaque and bacteria erode your tooth enamel. This erosion weakens the enamel, leading to the formation of small pits. Bacteria can collect in these pits, causing them to grow larger and deeper. Cavities may be common, but they can also be prevented. Brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings and exams are critical for preventing cavities. However, some individuals are more prone to cavity development than others. North Atlanta Family Dentistry can help with fluoride treatments.
Risk Factors for Cavities
While cavities can affect anyone, no matter what your age, there are certain factors that can increase your risk. These factors include:
What Exactly is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural element that occurs in your teeth. Like calcium and phosphates, fluoride is essential for strength. While it exists in your enamel, it is lost daily through a process called demineralization. This is caused by the acids produced by plaque, bacteria, and certain types of foods.
Fluoride, and other minerals can also be replaced. This is a process known as remineralization. You can find fluoride in many sources. It exists in trace amounts in certain foods. It can be found in treated tap water. There are also several fluoridated oral care products including toothpaste, flosses, and mouthwashes.
Fluoride is absorbed into your teeth or is introduced into your teeth through the bloodstream. Once in the teeth, it goes to work strengthening your tooth enamel, helping it to effectively fight off the erosion caused by plaque and bacterial acids. When you replace the same amount of fluoride as you are losing, your teeth can more effectively fight off acid attacks. It is when you are taking in less fluoride than you are replacing that the risk for cavities increases.
Fluoride treatments are a simple, painless treatment that we can provide right here in our office to help you further protect your teeth from decay and cavities. They are typically provided following your bi-annual cleanings. After your teeth have been cleaned, we paint a fluoride gel onto the surfaces of your teeth. That is all there is to the treatment. The fluoride absorbs into your enamel, where it goes to work strengthening your teeth so that they can more effectively defend against acid erosion. The gel does not need to be rinsed off. It is recommended though that you do not eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to ensure optimal absorption of fluoride.
With fluoride treatments, we can help you to prevent the formation of tooth decay and cavities further. These treatments, however, are only effective when combined with good oral hygiene practices. For more information, and to find out if fluoride treatments are right for you, call North Atlanta Family Dentistry today at (470) 387-0500.