Fluoride treatments, do they work, and are they for you?

The Controversy Surrounding Fluoride in City Wateroregon fluoride statistics

Recently there has been a lot of controversy surrounding adding fluoride to city water in the Portland Oregon area.  To that end, the Oregon Dental Association compiled a expert review of why fluoride in city water is safe and effective in reducing dental care costs of those who drink this water.  This expert review covers the benefits of legislation that would require Oregon cities of 10,000 or more residents to add effective amounts of fluoride to water supplies.  This report covers the fact that even with over 60 years of research proving the benefits of fluoride in water, only 20 percent of cities in Oregon have fluoride in city water.

This report goes on to point to facts surrounding communities without fluoride in the water.  The report cites a study completed by David Satcher, MD, PhD  titled: Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, notable areas of interest were:

noted that tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease—five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Dr. Satcher’s report characterizes dental disease as a “silent epidemic” and there is ample evidence that Oregon suffers from its share of this problem. For example, in Smiles Survey 2002, the Oregon Department of Human Services found:

  • More than 50 percent of Oregon’s children suffer from dental decay and 25 percent have decay that has not been treated;
  • Children who qualify for free and reduced-price meal programs in school have substantially higher rates of decay and are more likely not to be treated;
  • Decay is more common among children of color and among children in non-English speaking households.

You can read the full report regarding Fluoride in Oregon Water.

Dentist Grade Fluoride Treatmentsdental fluoride treatments portland oregon

Fluoride is one of nature’s best defenses against cavities, and thus we believe it’s an important part of a healthy dental routine.  Fluoride is commonly prescribed to children, but has proven effective for adult teeth as well.  Fluoride prevents cavities and helps teeth to repair themselves.  Some of the most common treatment options include varnishes, gels, and solutions that are applied directly to the outside of the upper and lower teeth.  Dental grade professional fluoride treatment involves the dentist applying a liquid, gel or foam to the affected tooth.  Alternatively, a paste rich in fluoride may be prepared in a tray that is then fitted over the teeth and left on for a period of time.  These dental grade fluoride treatments have a higher concentration of fluoride than those found in toothpastes or fluoride enriched mouth washes.

Common Dental Applications of Fluoride Treatments

If caught early, dental grade fluoride treatments can be used to combat tooth decay, in many cases saving teeth that if left unchecked would have continued to decay.  Fluoride treatments also have other uses such as treating xerostomia or dry mouth.  This dental condition can cause different oral and dental problems such as bad breath, tooth decay, and gum infection, so this should be treated immediately.  To moisturize the mouth, many dentists typically recommend patients to use fluoride products aside from fluoride treatments.  Fluoride treatments are an important part of dental health maintenance.

Are Fluoride Treatments For You?

Fluoride treatments are not for everyone, as using too much fluoride can lead to problems with the tooth enamel.  However, if you have a history of cavity development, routinely snacking on foods without brushing directly afterwards, consuming a high amount of sugary foods, or you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, ask your dentist about fluoride treatment today.  Fluoride comes in a variety of forms and can significantly enhance the integrity and lifetime of your smile.

Children & Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride treatment is an important part of your child’s visit to the dentist and thus should not be skipped or neglected.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding fluoride treatments and your child,  Dr. Marshall or Dr. Tooke  can answer  them before your child’s dental visit.  Fluoride treatments will come in many different forms and we will work closely with parents and their children to decide which fluoride treatment is best for them.  These treatments can be carried out in a single appointment with our dentists and we work to ensure that children are at ease from the moment that they walk through our doors.