Last time I was at my dentist the hygienist asked me if I wanted the fluoride treatment? I can’t remember the last time I had it, I assumed it was for kids. It made me wonder, do I need to have fluoride treatments as I get older?
The Short Answer, It Depends on Your Oral Health.
The idea behind higher concentrated Fluoride treatments when you were younger was to protect young vulnerable teeth. Most dentists stop fluoride treatments for patients over 14 years old. Usually in mature adults there is less risk of decay partially because of diet, but primarily because tooth enamel is much stronger in adulthood. The high concentrated fluoride rinse at the dentist helps to increase the amount of fluoride on your teeth, which prevents cavities and promotes overall oral health. My dentist will usually request that I don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes to an hour after the treatment. This is not because swallowing the fluoride is dangerous, rather the effectiveness of the treatment is reduced when rinsed away by food or drink. Its topographical and needs to be absorbed.
Whether you have the fluoride treatment depends more on the health of your teeth than your age. We all need some amount of fluoride in our diet (it’s a naturally occurring element), but if you have healthy teeth, you will probably get enough of it from toothpaste (if you brush regularly) and from your tap water (except in Waterloo since 2010). Be sure to check the labels on your toothpaste and make sure that it contains fluoride, if so, you are protecting your teeth every time you brush.
Additional Reasons to Have Fluoride Treatments
If your city decided not to treat your tap water with fluoride you may want to ask your dentist for the treatment every time? As we age, we become more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay. Another common issue is tooth sensitivity. Because sensitive teeth can be caused by week or thinning enamel, a fluoride treatment can help reduce sensitivity as well. Other reasons to get a Fluoride treatment annually are: if you drink allot of alcohol, if you smoke, if you don’t brush and floss regularly, or if you suffer from malnutrition. All these things can weaken tooth enamel.
A Professional Fluoride Treatment Works Best
Did you know, your teeth absorb the fluoride better after a thorough cleaning? That is why having this done professionally by a dentist or hygienist right after a cleaning / checkup is the best way to do it.