If your child has been to a dentist, they likely had a fluoride treatment along with their semi-annual cleaning and checkup. The quick, painless preventive step is crucial for protecting young smiles from tooth decay, but do adults need fluoride treatments, too? Although you might believe they are only for children, you’re never too old to benefit from the protection of fluoride. With 26% of adults in the U.S. having untreated tooth decay, it’s a simple solution to safeguard your smile.
Prevalence of Tooth Decay in Adults
Children are prone to cavities because they don’t have the best oral hygiene techniques; however, adults aren’t immune to decay. At least 92% of adults have had one or more cavities in a permanent tooth. Besides the usual culprits, like sugary drinks and poor oral hygiene, your risk of decay can increase from another factor you can’t avoid–age. Years of wear and tear will take a toll on your enamel. Over time, it will demineralize and weaken, making it less resistant to cavity-causing bacteria.
Fluoride Can Prevent Cavities in Adults
Fluoride is known as “nature’s cavity fighter” because it can remineralize the enamel. For over 70 years, fluoride has been proven effective at stopping decay. It is even listed as one of the “10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.” Although it can’t reverse cavities, it can strengthen weakened areas to restore your enamel’s strength.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fluoridated water and toothpaste are the best means to get the mineral, but some adults can advantage from a fluoride varnish. While many people know about the benefits of fluoride for young smiles, it can be equally important for adults. A 2007 study by the CDC found fluoride prevents as much as 27% of cavities in adults of all ages.
Candidates for a Fluoride Treatment
Most adults receive adequate fluoride through dental products used at home and by drinking tap water, but some people may warrant a little extra to boost their level of protection to fight against decay. Often, a fluoride treatment is recommended for patients experiencing:
- Dry mouth
- Gum recession
- Orthodontic completion
- Tooth sensitivity
- Radiation cancer treatment
- Sensitivity around dental restorations
Invest in a Cavity-Free Smile
If you feel you have a higher risk for cavities, discuss your concerns with your dentist. They’ll examine your smile and learn more about your situation to create a personalized treatment plan. Besides preventive care from your dentist, you can shield your smile by committing to your oral hygiene at home and limiting the sugars and starches in your diet. Considering adding an antimicrobial mouthrinse to your morning and nightly routine to ensure your smile stays cavity-free.
About Dr. Arindam Kakkar
Dr. Kakkar earned his dental degree from NYU, College of Dentistry, and a degree in general dentistry from India. He has completed advanced training in many specialties, like full mouth reconstruction, oral surgery, and cosmetic fillings. If you’re ready to achieve your best smile, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.