Experts used to think that fluoride was best suited for children by
strengthening teeth while they were still developing. Studies now show that topical fluoride, the kind in toothpastes and mouth rinses, as well as fluoride treatments, are beneficial for people of all ages. Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay and can repair teeth in the very early, microscopic stages of the disease.
If your drinking water has fluoride added, (Petaluma does NOT add fluoride to water), then brushing regularly with fluoride toothpaste is considered sufficient for most adults with healthy teeth. People who drink mostly bottled water and those with certain conditions such as dry mouth or receded gums should talk to the dentist about special fluoride treatments. Fluoride treatments can also be helpful for people who wear braces or have had radiation therapy to the neck or head.
Fluoride is added to most toothpastes or fluoride mouth rinses that are available in a store or at a pharmacy, but the fluoride preparation used in the dental office is a much stronger concentration. Typically your hygienist can apply the treatment by simply brushing on the fluoride. This takes only a few minutes. After the fluoride is applied you will be asked not to eat or drink for a least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride and help repair microscopic carious areas. Depending on your oral health status, fluoride treatments may be recommended every three, six or 12 months.
If you have any questions regarding fluoride treatments, please ask you dentist or hygienist.