Fluoride can keep cavities at bay while building strong and healthy teeth; but can you have too much of a good thing? Even though fluoride is a natural mineral with clear benefits, you can overdo it if you’re supplementing professional fluoride treatments with products containing too much of it at home.
Why Should I Get Fluoride Treatments Anyway?
Most people want to keep their permanent teeth for the entirety of their lives, and fluoride treatments make it possible for patients prone to cavities and decay to do just that. Since most municipal water supplies throughout the United States do contain added fluoride, some patients don’t need professional fluoride treatments. Giving these patients who aren’t at risk a higher-than-necessary dose of fluoride can actually cause white spots, staining and pitting or, in extreme cases, dense but structurally weak teeth.
For others, in-office fluoride treatments on a regular basis and additional at-home products are prescribed. Patients who may need more frequent fluoride treatments can be those who suffer from chronic dry mouth, patients who struggle with addiction, those who can’t access professional dental care reliably, patients with a poor diet and patients with weak enamel.
Keeping Fluoride Treatments Safe and Effective
If you’re given prescription-strength gels or rinses to use at home, be sure to always keep them out of reach of children. When kids are prescribed these treatments, you should always be sure to supervise until you’re certain the child won’t swallow or misuse the products.
Even though fluoride treatments make cavities less likely the earlier children are exposed to them, there’s a reason why toothpaste marketed towards small children don’t contain fluoride: it is a medication, and as such, overuse has consequences. Chronic overexposure can have a counterproductive effect, actually damaging teeth and bones of small children. High doses can cause nausea, diarrhea and in extreme cases, can even be fatal.
As with any other medication, be sure to use only the prescribed amount of fluoride and discuss the proper amounts to introduce at home if children are receiving in-office fluoride treatments. At Pearland Family Dentistry, we’re here to keep the smiles of the whole family healthy and beautiful. Our expert care providers and administrative staff provide the very best in family dental care. If you have questions about fluoride treatments, call us today to make an appointment.