Providing Fluoride Treatments in Ann Arbor, MI
Fluoride was first added to the water supply in 1945, in Grand Rapids Michigan. Water fluoridation represents one of the most effective measures for prevention of cavities. Fluoridated water benefits children when the teeth are developing and have not yet erupted through the gums. It has little benefit after the tooth is developed, as fluoride levels in drinking water are not concentrated enough to protect the exposed tooth surface.
Elevated concentrations of fluoride on the surface enamel of erupted childhood teeth and adult teeth make the tooth surface more resistant to the development of cavities. Fluoride assists in the recalcification or hardening of the tooth enamel. This is accomplished through a chemical reaction between the fluoride ion and the tooth surface. This helps to protect any developing "soft spots" on the tooth surface which are vulnerable to the acid producing bacteria responsible for cavities. In addition, as you age your gums recede, leaving the sensitive root surfaces exposed. This will make the aging adult more susceptible to cavities on these root surfaces that do not have the protection of hardened enamel. Exposed roots can also result in unpleasant and painful sensitivity.
Topical application of a concentrated fluoride product to the tooth surface can help to significantly reduce the risk of cavities and sensitivity. Since some fluoride is lost due to the abrasion of the polishing during a cleaning, application of concentrated topical fluoride is highly recommended at the time of your cleaning. This is just as important for adults and it is for children. Ask your hygienist about a fluoride application at your next appointment.
To learn more about the importance of fluoride at all ages listen to our interview with Barbara Walkowc that aired June 6th on the Smile Files.