You’re very diligent about brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. You even make sure you see Dr. Giesy and MaryKay or Kacia (our wonderful hygienists) at least twice a year for your checkup and cleaning! Then one day, Dr. Giesy tells you you have a cavity! Yikes! How could this happen? Believe it or not, the CDC reports that 91% of individuals over the age of 20 have had cavities at some point in their adult lives. Cavities certainly aren’t child’s play!
However, there are many ways you can prevent adult cavities, including regular brushing, flossing, checkups, and cleanings. There are two additional treatments for adults that can help prevent cavities: fluoride and sealants.
You may remember getting fluoride treatment as a child, but did you know that fluoride is also beneficial for adults? Adults face different circumstances than children, some of which may create cavity-causing dental challenges.
Here are six reasons to consider fluoride treatments:
1. Medications: Some medications cause dry mouth. Saliva acts as a buffer against the buildup of cavity-causing bacteria. When your saliva flow is reduced, you’re more prone to getting cavities; fluoride can help prevent that.
2. Restorations: Fluoride can help protect the margins of any restorations you may have, including crowns and fillings.
3. Orthodontic treatment: A lot of adults choose to have orthodontic treatment. Do you know how hard it is to keep your teeth clean with metal brackets? Just ask your teen. Getting fluoride treatment will help prevent cavities from forming.
4. Sensitive teeth: Fluoride re-mineralizes tooth enamel, reducing sensitivity.
5. Gum recession: When gums recede, the root surfaces of your teeth are exposed. These areas are softer than enamel and are more susceptible to decay. Fluoride helps strengthen them.
6. Radiation treatment: Radiation damages saliva glands, which reduces saliva flow in cancer patients undergoing radiation treatments. Decreased saliva production could result in cavities.
Another preventive treatment your Dentist in Tacoma, Dr. Giesy may recommend is sealants. The American Dental Association states that not only are they beneficial for kids, but also for adults.
Your toothbrush can’t get in the pits and grooves of the chewing surface of your teeth very well. Eventually, the bacteria that sit in these pits and grooves will cause a cavity. Having sealants placed in these areas can help prevent that. A sealant is a flowable, plastic material that is bonded, painted, and cured on the chewing surfaces of your teeth to act as a barrier, protecting your teeth from forming a cavity.
If you’ve suffered from adult cavities or if any of the six circumstances listed above apply to you, ask Dr. Giesy and one of our great hygienists about fluoride treatment and sealants. Be sure to contact us today to schedule your next appointment.