Brushing and flossing are essential habits for preventing the formation of cavities. However, even with proper oral hygiene practices, cavities can still form. Cavities are the result of tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when acids produced by plaque and bacteria, as well as those from different foods and beverages, sit too long on your teeth. Over time, they erode the enamel, which leads to weak spots. Weak spots turn into small pits, or cavities. Once the cavities form, treatment is needed to prevent further development and severe consequences on your oral and overall health. At OHIOSmiles, we can help to prevent the formation of tooth decay and cavities with fluoride and sealants.
Fluoride is an essential mineral that occurs naturally in your teeth. This mineral is crucial for helping the enamel of your teeth to fight off the acids produced by plaque and bacteria. Every day, some fluoride, in addition to other minerals in your teeth, is lost through a natural process called demineralization. The minerals can also be replaced. Fluoride is found in trace amounts in treated tap water as well as in fluoridated oral care products like toothpaste and mouthwash. As long as the same amount of fluoride is replaced as the amount that has been lost, your teeth remain healthy. However, if more fluoride is lost than is replaced, this is when decay can begin to develop, leading to the eventual formation of cavities.
For many individuals, the fluoride in water and toothpaste is enough to keep the teeth protected. If you are more prone to cavities though, you may benefit from fluoride treatments. A fluoride treatment is a quick, simple procedure that involves applying a fluoride varnish directly to the surfaces of your teeth following a cleaning. The varnish is designed to stay on your teeth without the need to remove it or wash it away. You should avoid eating and drinking for at least 30 minutes following the treatment. Fluoride is absorbed directly into the surfaces of your enamel, where it goes to work remineralizing your teeth and providing them with the protection they need from the harmful effects of plaque and bacterial acids.
The chewing surface of your back teeth contains deep crevices that can sometimes be very difficult to thoroughly clean with your toothbrush no matter how often you brush. These crevices can easily collect food particles and bacteria which, if not properly removed, can quickly lead to decay and the formation of cavities. We can help to prevent cavities on these surfaces with sealants.
Sealants are a quick, non-invasive treatment that involves applying a synthetic material made up of plastic over the crevices. After the teeth have been cleaned, and any existing cavities and decay have been treated, the material is simply painted onto the surfaces of your back teeth. A special light is used to cure, or harden, the material, allowing it to begin providing immediate protection. With sealants, debris and bacteria can no longer get trapped in the deep crevices of your teeth while the back teeth are made much easier to keep clean.
Both fluoride and sealants can help to protect your teeth from the harmful effects of plaque and bacteria. However, to be effective, it is still essential that you maintain good oral hygiene practices. For more information, and to find out if fluoride treatments and sealants are right for you, call OHIOSmiles at (740) 439-2501 today.