Tooth decay is a prevalent chronic disease during childhood, as per the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. A staggering 50 percent of children aged 5 to 9 years old have at least one cavity or filling. This percentage jumps to a staggering 78 percent among 17-year-olds. Furthermore, dental-related illnesses cause the loss of more than 51 million school hours every year. In order to provide an extra shield against dental decay, it is recommended that children undergo periodic fluoride treatments as part of their preventive dental care program. Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, assists in cavity prevention by strengthening the outer enamel of teeth, making it more resistant to the harmful acids produced by sugar-processing bacteria in dental plaque. It also aids in the remineralization process, which can reverse early-stage decay.
During a regular checkup, the dentist might suggest the application of topical fluoride as a means to fortify and safeguard both baby teeth and permanent teeth in children. Topical fluorides can be administered as foam, gel, or varnish. Regardless of the chosen type, the procedure is swift and painless. Once the teeth are cleaned, the fluoride is carefully applied to the tooth surfaces or placed in a small tray that rests over the teeth for a short period of time. In certain cases, consuming food or drinks is discouraged for approximately 30 minutes to allow the fluoride to be absorbed into the tooth surface.
The dentist and dental hygienist will provide detailed instructions accordingly. Adults who face a higher risk of developing tooth decay may also benefit from fluoride treatment.