Fluoride Treatment May Be Necessary When Wearing Braces
Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally in many different types of foods and water. This important mineral helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from the bacteria that’s present in plaque. In addition to being in many foods and water, fluoride also can be applied directly to the teeth using toothpastes and mouth rinses which contains fluoride.
How Fluoride Protects Teeth
Fluoride works by disrupting the process of tooth decay by changing the structure of developing enamel. This results in the enamel being more resistant to acid attacks. Fluoride also encourages better quality enamel to form that’s more acid resistant. Fluoride also reduces plaque bacteria’s ability to produce acid which is what causes teeth to decay.
There has been concern that fluoride may be linked to a variety of health conditions including bone problems such as bone cancer. However, extensive research has found no evidence of this. Scientists agree that fluoridated water as well as toothpastes and mouth rinses containing fluoride are beneficial as they help reduce tooth decay and don’t cause any harmful side effects.
When you’re wearing braces, white spots can appear on the teeth around where the braces attach to the teeth. If these white spots are not treated, they can lead to tooth decay. We tell our patients wearing braces to brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and at bedtime. We also show our patients how to properly brush their teeth with braces and may even provide a prescription for a special fluoride if necessary.
Prescription Topical Fluoride Can Prevent Staining and Cavities
Research has shown that regular, daily use of a prescription topical fluoride during orthodontic treatment can prevent permanent staining of the tooth enamel and can also reduce the occurrence of cavities. Most often, stains on teeth are present along the gumline of the front teeth and are not usually visible until the braces are removed.
The prescription topical fluoride we sometimes prescribe contains a higher level of fluoride than what is found in toothpastes and mouth rinses. While there are fluoride tablets available over-the-counter, we don’t recommend their use. This is because fluoride works best topically and even though fluoride tablets are not harmful if used correctly, excessive use of these tablets can cause fluorosis or white spots on the teeth. Mild dental fluorosis appears as white flecking or pearly white lines on the surface of the teeth. If fluorosis is left untreated, it can cause pitting and discoloration of the tooth’s enamel.
If you have any questions about fluoride, please don’t hesitate to contact our Reno & Sparks, NV orthodontics office. We’re always available to speak with you and are more than happy to answer your questions and address your concerns.