Preventive dental care tends to be discussed as a pediatric approach to cavity-fighting. And it is true that it’s extra important for children to avoid decay, in large part to help prevent the formation of dental anxiety. But adults benefit from some extra preventive measures, too. While fluoride treatment may not be commonly prescribed past your youth, it might be the right step for your grown-up smile.

While it’s gained controversy in recent years, the fact of the fluoride matter is this: it helps prevent the formation of cavities. Fluoride draws calcium and phosphate out of the saliva and helps bring them into the enamel. This results in a stronger enamel layer.

As technology becomes more advanced, dental care becomes more personalized, with your treatment plan matching your unique needs. For many adults, this means some kind of ongoing fluoride treatment. If you consistently turn up cavities at your dental exams, some defense-boosting fluoride could be a significant aid. Read on for more information on treatment, and get in touch if you have any questions about your own enamel.

Why Fluoride Treatment Helps Patients of All Ages

As we mentioned, children are the usual recipients of fluoride. This is because kids:

  • Need an extra oral hygiene boost - Children aren’t always invested in their brushing and flossing, and it’s common for plaque to hide out and hasten decay. Fluoride gives the enamel a better chance of withstanding the effects of oral acids.
  • Want to prevent cavities as long as possible - Kids tend to be nervous about visiting the dentist’s office. Helping them avoid the dental drill can alleviate that anxiety, and help them form positive associations with the office moving forward.
  • Are in the process of tooth development - While baby teeth fall out, they guide the development of healthy permanent teeth. Cavity-free baby teeth are always preferable.

...but, with the exception of tooth development, many adults share the same needs. What if you could reduce the number of cavities that affect your smile? Fluoride treatment is a simple, inexpensive way to do so.

Why Am I Prone to Tooth Decay?


Common decay risk factors include:

  • Spacing between teeth - If the teeth are particularly crowded, it can be tough to reach between them with your floss, and easier for plaque to gather.
  • Diet - If you tend to consume sugary treats, or sip on sweet or acidic beverages throughout the day, your oral pH will be consistently lower and create a cavity-friendly environment.
  • Frequent snacking - When you eat a meal, enough saliva is produced to wash away acid-causing bacteria. But when you have a smaller snack, you won’t have the same benefit.
  • Poor hygiene - If your brushing and flossing aren’t removing bacteria from every surface of your teeth, plaque will form. If the plaque isn’t removed, it will harden into tartar.

  • Not enough fluoride - If you didn’t get enough fluoride, you may be prone to decay and have weakened enamel.
  • Age - Teeth erode and gums recede over time, exposing vulnerable areas to oral acids.
  • Dry mouth - When your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva, it creates an environment with heightened decay risk. Saliva washes away harmful bacteria and helps protect enamel.
  • Worn dental work - If crowns, veneers, or fillings are breaking down and have exposed edges, plaque tends to build up in the area. Make sure to schedule regular exams so that we can monitor the health of your restorations and replace them if necessary.
  • Presence of extra acids - Issues like heartburn or eating disorders can lead to stomach acids washing over enamel, causing additional erosion.

Fluoride helps counteract all of these issues, and encourages a long-lasting smile.

Fluoride Treatment with Dr. Kim Okamura

We offer our patients an incredibly effective long-term fluoride option. Vanish XT is an extended contact varnish that is painted over vulnerable tooth surfaces. The varnish stays in place for up to six months after treatment, releasing fluoride on a continual basis. This remineralizes enamel and reduces tooth sensitivity. You’ll not only see fewer cavities, but feel better throughout the process. Patients with hypersensitivity have seen excellent results with Vanish XT, and it might be right for your teeth.

If you’re not a candidate for Vanish XT, we’ll find a fluoride option that fits. Simply contact us to learn more about your options, and start protecting your smile.

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Dr. Kim Okamura

I'm Dr. Kim Okamura and this blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE.