FLUORIDATION


Fluoridation – effects on dental health

Fluoridation is an effective method of preventing tooth decay by increasing the concentration of fluoride in tooth enamel. This dental treatment has a number of benefits and can be carried out in dental surgeries or at home. In this article, we aim to explore the effects of fluoridation on dental health and the importance of this method of preventing tooth decay.

Benefits of fluoridation

Fluoride is a mineral substance found in tooth enamel and is designed to strengthen the surface of teeth. By increasing the concentration of fluoride, the tooth becomes more resistant to the bacterial attack that causes caries. Here are some of the benefits of fluoridation:

  1. Prevention of tooth decay: One of the main benefits of fluoridation is its ability to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and prevents tooth demineralization, reducing the risk of developing carious lesions.

  2. Reduced tooth sensitivity: Fluoridation can reduce tooth sensitivity to stimuli such as cold, hot or sweet foods. Fluoride helps form a protective layer on the surface of teeth, reducing the discomfort associated with tooth sensitivity.

  3. Enamel remineralization: Fluoride has the ability to re-mineralize tooth enamel in the early stages of carious lesions. By stimulating the remineralization process, fluoride can reverse enamel demineralization and restore enamel integrity.

  4. Protection for permanent teeth during eruption: Fluoridation is particularly beneficial for children, especially during the eruption of permanent teeth. Permanent tooth enamel is still fragile during this period and fluoride can help strengthen and protect against tooth decay.

  5. Benefits for people prone to caries: People with a slightly acidic saliva pH or insufficient salivary secretion are more susceptible to tooth decay. Consumption of fluoride through fluoridation helps to reduce the rate of tooth decay and protect teeth from damage.

  6. Protection for patients with orthodontic appliances: Patients wearing orthodontic appliances are at greater risk of plaque build-up and tooth decay. Fluoridation is particularly useful in these cases as it helps to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent carious lesions in the area where the braces are placed.

How fluoride is administered

There are two main ways of administering fluoride to achieve the desired benefits:

  1. Professional fluoridation in the dental office: This procedure is performed by the dentist and consists of applying a fluoride gel or solution directly to the surface of the teeth. Professional fluoridation is usually carried out 2-3 times a year and can be combined with a complete oral hygiene.

  2. Fluoridation at home: This method involves the use of fluoridated products at home, such as fluoride-containing toothpastes or gargle solutions. It is important that these products are used as directed and in the recommended amounts to avoid fluoride overdose.

Side effects and precautions

Dental fluoridation is considered safe and effective in preventing tooth decay. However, it is important to follow the recommendations and avoid overdosing on fluoride as this can cause dental fluorosis, a condition that can affect the appearance and health of teeth.

Dental fluorosis: Excessive consumption of fluoride can lead to a condition called dental fluorosis. This is manifested by the appearance of white spots or streaks on the enamel of the teeth. In severe cases, dental fluorosis can lead to weakened enamel and tooth decay.

It is therefore important that fluoride is taken in adequate doses and under the supervision of a dentist. It is recommended that parents monitor the amount of fluoride consumed by children, especially when they are too young to swallow toothpaste and can obtain fluoride from other sources.

Dental care is not just about treating tooth damage or replacing lost teeth. The current trend is to prevent any type of lesion from setting in.

By minimizing risks with prophylactic methods, we ensure longevity of dental units in the arch and optimal oral health, which increases patient confidence in health care and in themselves.

There are three types of prophylaxis:

  • Primary prophylaxis – is the prevention of oral lesions and is aimed at healthy teeth on which no potentially destructive stimulus is acting.

It can be achieved through fluoridation, sealants, professional hygiene and 6-month check-ups.

  • Secondary prophylaxis – aims to prevent damage from worsening. It involves detecting pathologies at an early stage, when the aggressor has not caused major damage.

Interception at an early stage ensures that minimally invasive conservative treatments can be instituted.

Of these, we can opt for enamel remineralization, maintenance under close observation and 3-month check-ups and oral rehabilitation.

  • Tertiary prophylaxis – in this case, the pathogen has already expressed its destructive potential in the dental arches or oral mucosa and all we can do is to treat the lesions conservatively or radically (surgically) and prevent recurrences.

Conservative treatment involves cavity excision, endodontic treatments or grinding to cover teeth with prosthetic pieces.

Radical treatment, on the other hand, is surgical treatment, which results in the extraction of the tooth or teeth concerned.

Fluoridation is the dental treatment that increases the fluoride concentration of teeth to prevent the development of carious lesions and is mainly intended for children.

This treatment controls to some extent the development of carious lesions and can be carried out in the dentist’s surgery or at home.

Fluoride is a mineral, organic component found in tooth enamel that helps to strengthen the tooth surface.

By increasing the local concentration of fluoride, the tooth is more resistant to bacterial attack, which results in a lower pH and creates an acidic environment for microbial growth.

The major advantage of fluoridation is that it can be carried out on a community-wide basis by fluoridating drinking water.

Many countries have started this approach years ago and the results are remarkable, with decreases in the incidence of carious lesions in patients drinking from those water sources.

The indications for fluoridation are as follows:

  • Children – especially during the eruption of permanent teeth. At the time of tooth eruption, the enamel is still friable. In the first two years, it is more porous and more penetrable by bacteria. The first permanent tooth erupts around the age of 6 and the last between 18 and 21. Adults can also benefit from this treatment.

  • People with a predisposition to develop cavities – whether they have a slightly acidic saliva pH or insufficient salivary secretion, whatever the causes of multiple cavities, fluoride consumption helps to lower the rate of tooth decay.

  • Patients wearing orthodontic appliances – hygiene in these patients is more difficult and requires more time and skill.

Conclusion

Fluoridation in dental surgeries can be performed 2-3 times a year and is a simple procedure.

Fluoridation is an important and effective method of preventing dental caries and maintaining optimal dental health. By increasing the concentration of fluoride in tooth enamel, fluoridation strengthens teeth and reduces the risk of carious lesions. This procedure can be carried out in dental surgeries or at home and has significant benefits especially for children during the eruption period

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