Eating and drinking create bacteria and sugar in the mouth, which attack tooth enamel and contribute to demineralization. Additionally, each day remineralization occurs as food and water redeposit minerals such as fluoride, phosphate, and calcium to tooth enamel. When more demineralization than remineralization occurs, a patient experiences tooth decay.
Fluoride applications at the dentist can reverse early decay and increase a tooth’s resistance to acid from sugar and bacteria. Available as a varnish or gel, this treatment contains a substantially higher level of fluoride than toothpaste. After sitting on the teeth for several minutes, the patient will rinse their mouth. Fluoride applications are particularly vital for children aged six months to 16 years, when permanent teeth are coming in, and adults with conditions such as gum disease or chronic cavities.