“Do I need to get fluoride at the dentist?” is a common question, especially among adults in Richmond, VA.

Most people think of fluoride treatment as something only necessary for children. But what about adults? Do adults need fluoride treatment, too?

In this article, we’re exploring the world of dental fluoride and answering important questions like:

  • Is dentist fluoride treatment necessary?
  • What does dental fluoride do?
  • Do I need to get dental fluoride at the dentist?

Join us as we provide a deeper understanding of fluoride, when to get fluoride for adults, and an answer to the big question, “Is fluoride at the dentist worth it?” 

What is Fluoride and What Does Fluoride Do?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. It’s found in many of the foods you eat and in some water sources you drink. Fluoride is also an essential mineral found in your teeth that helps make their enamel strong and protects them from decay and cavities.

Every day, depending on what you eat and your tooth care regimen, minerals are added (mineralization) and removed (demineralization) from tooth enamel. Here’s some more in-depth information about these processes to help you understand fluoride absorption in your teeth.

Demineralization of Tooth Enamel

Demineralization occurs when acids attack and break down the enamel. Plaque on your teeth continually produces these acids. If plaque isn’t removed, it’ll continue to make acid, break down tooth enamel, and cause cavities.

Plaque is removed from teeth by:

  1. A good oral hygiene routine
  2. Regular dental visits

It’s important to fight plaque quickly and aggressively because once it destroys your enamel, the enamel can’t regrow.

Mineralization of Tooth Enamel

Mineralization is a positive process that occurs when beneficial minerals reach your body’s cells and tissues. The two main ways fluoride mineralization can occur are ‘topical’ and ‘systemic’ methods.

Systemic methods involve ingesting fluoride through food or drink, the most common source being from water that contains fluoride.

Topical fluoride is usually administered through:

  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Dental fluoride treatment

The primary purpose of fluoride is to protect and strengthen tooth enamel from decay. Adding extra sources of fluoride into your diet or getting routine dental fluoride treatments can help keep enamel strong and cavities away.

Top Questions About Dental Fluoride for Adults and Children

We just talked about what fluoride is and why it’s important for your teeth. Now, let’s answer some of the most pressing questions surrounding dental fluoride treatments.

Should I Get Fluoride at the Dentist?

Yes, most people should get fluoride at the dentist. 

The two groups that dentists most highly recommend to receive fluoride treatment are:

  • Children: Children should get fluoride treatments during their regular checkups, especially since their teeth are newly developing and erupting into their mouths. Insurance usually pays for these treatments, so why not take advantage of free (at least not out-of-pocket) fluoride treatment for your kids. 
  • Adults: Fluoride can help strengthen adult teeth, especially those consuming higher acidic foods and drinks (like coffee), and prevent further decay. Think of fluoride like wax for a car after a carwash. Keep your teeth strengthened and protected well after you leave your bi-annual cleaning. 

Ultimately, fluoride treatment benefits a majority of people. However, you can always talk with your dentist about whether a fluoride treatment is right for you if you have concerns. 

What Does Dental Fluoride Do?

Dental fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel and protect teeth from decay. It’s a way to mineralize your teeth and make them healthier. However, it’s most effective when you’re already in the habit of brushing and flossing regularly.

Fluoride can’t undo previous enamel loss; it can only help strengthen current enamel. Dental fluoride isn’t a cure for poor oral hygiene or lost enamel.

Do Adults Need Fluoride?

Yes, every set of teeth needs fluoride from naturally occurring sources to stay healthy, including adult teeth. For overall oral health, adults also need to make sure they’re keeping up with their home care and living a healthy lifestyle. 

Since adult teeth can’t grow back, it’s vital for adults to maintain a healthy diet, get enough fluoride, and see their dentist regularly.

If you’re an adult and you’re unsure of your tooth health or fluoride levels, it’s a good idea to talk with your dentist at your next visit.

Do Adults Need Fluoride Treatments?

Many adults wonder, “Are fluoride treatments beneficial for adults?” The answer is yes. All adults can benefit from a dental fluoride treatment, especially those at a higher risk for tooth decay.

Insurance doesn’t normally cover fluoride for adults, but the price is usually only around $20-40—well worth the extra cost.

Do Fluoride Treatments Work?

Yes, fluoride treatments at the dentist are effective because fluoride is applied directly to teeth, usually as a gel, foam, or varnish. Direct application allows tooth enamel to quickly absorb the fluoride.

Fluoride varnish is “painted” onto teeth while fluoride foam is placed into a mouthguard-like tray and set in the mouth for 3-5 minutes. Fluoride gel is brushed directly onto teeth or placed in a mouthguard tray.

Where to Get Fluoride for Adults in Richmond, VA

Everyone needs fluoride in their diet to help keep tooth enamel strong and healthy. Eating healthy, drinking water that contains fluoride, and using fluoride toothpaste is an excellent way to keep up with fluoride intake. But most people can still benefit from a regular fluoride treatment.

Should you get fluoride at the dentist? Probably.

Do you need fluoride at the dentist? That depends on your current oral health. 

It’s recommended that children receive fluoride treatment at each dental visit. Adults don’t need to get regular fluoride treatments, but they are beneficial for treating weak enamel and keeping away cavities.

Not sure if you should get a fluoride treatment or where to get one?

Northside Dental Co. in Richmond, VA is a friendly, welcoming, and professional dental clinic. We strive to provide the highest quality of care to all our patients. Whether you’re a parent looking for a dentist for your child or an adult searching for a fluoride treatment, we’re here for you.

Book your appointment online or give us a call at (804) 767-3410. We’re ready to answer any questions you may have about fluoride, like “Do I need to get fluoride at the dentist” or “Is dentist fluoride treatment necessary for me?” We’ve heard it all, and we love to help educate our patients!