What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that can be found in soil, rocks, the air, and bodies of water all around the world. Fluoride is scientifically proven to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities by warding off bacteria that leads to the formation of plaque.

Most public drinking water supplies contain fluoride – known as “fluoridated water” – for the purpose of improving oral health. In fact, 73% of the American population has access to a fluoridated water supply, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you live in VirginiaMaryland, or Washington D.C., you’re most likely drinking tap water that has a carefully measured amount of fluoride added to it. If you brush your teeth, it’s likely that you are using fluoridated toothpaste, given that the vast majority of toothpastes sold contain fluoride in them too.

In moderation, fluoride is quite beneficial for your dental health.

What is Fluoride Treatment?

Professional fluoride treatment is a routine procedure that involves the dentist applying a high concentration of fluoride solution to the patient’s teeth either by topical solution, varnish, or foam. You may remember it being applied to your teeth as a flavored solution in a teeth-shaped tray.

Fluoride treatment is recommended every 3, 6, or 12 months depending on the oral health of the patient. If you are more likely to develop cavities, you may be asked to receive fluoride treatment more frequently.

What Does Fluoride Do for the Teeth?

Once applied, the fluoride is then absorbed by your tooth enamel, providing it with an extra layer of protection from bacteria that could lead to cavities.

Benefits of Fluoride Treatment

  1. Restores Your Teeth Fluoride may be a naturally occurring substance, but tooth decay can happen over time if your teeth are not properly protected. The acid from the food and beverages you consume gradually wears away at fluoride and other minerals protecting your teeth, making professional fluoride treatment a key method for preventing tooth decay.
  2. Reduces Tooth Sensitivity When your tooth enamel is weakened, it’s more easily exposed to harmful bacteria. The exposure of more sensitive areas of your teeth is what leads to tooth sensitivity. By building the layer of protective minerals back up, fluoride treatment helps to reduce tooth sensitivity.
  3. Prevents CavitiesCavities develop when your tooth enamel is broken down by plaque – which forms when bacteria is allowed to fester on the surface of your teeth. By warding off bacteria – and by extension, plaque – fluoride is one of your strongest defenses against the formation of cavities.
  4. Saves Your Smile & Your WalletCavities are not only painful – they can be expensive to address! Protecting your teeth will give you a longer-lasting smile in the long run. Plus, it will save you the headache of paying for procedures to fix it later.

Does Fluoride Whiten Teeth?

Fluoride does not directly whiten your teeth. However, since fluoride provides protection against bacteria that causes discoloration, a healthy amount of fluoride can keep your teeth looking whiter, longer.

When Can I Eat After Fluoride Treatment?

You should avoid eating or drinking anything for around 30 minutes after receiving fluoride treatment at the dentist. During that time, the fluoride is able to settle and become properly absorbed into the tooth enamel.

Fluoride Treatment in Arlington, VA

If you’re looking for a topical fluoride solution or fluoride varnish in the D.C. metro area, give CNS Dental a call. We’re here to help you with all of your oral health needs, from twice-annual cleanings to dental implants to Invisalign treatment. Book an appointment with us today!