Ask Dr. Lynn: Dental Mouth Guards and Fluoride Treatments

My daughter is entering high school this spring and plans on playing field hockey. Someone told me that she should wear a mouth guard. Is that really necessary?

Anyone who participates in a sport that carries a risk of injury should wear a mouth guard. Your daughter should wear a guard to protect her teeth and mouth. The American Dental Association reports that school-age children participating in sports suffer over 200,000 facial injuries per year.

Mouth guards are available in a variety of styles; you can purchase one over-the-counter or have one custom made by your dentist. Custom made mouth guards usually fit more securely and are more comfortable.

A custom made mouth guard will protect your daughter from injury and prevent an unscheduled trip to the dentist.

I am 58-years old, and at my last dental check up, my dentist told me to have a fluoride treatment. Aren’t fluoride treatments only for children?

The use of fluoride has been proven beneficial to both children and adults. Fluoride is not only effective in reducing the risk of dental decay but is also used to reduce tooth sensitivity. As we age, our gums tend to recede, exposing root surfaces.

These areas are prone to cavities and sensitivity to hot and cold. Also, certain medications or health problems can cause dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay. In both of these situations, fluoride can help reduce the risk of dental decay and sensitivity by lubricating the teeth and re-mineralizing tooth structure.

Fluoride can be applied professionally and at home. Consult with your dentist to determine the most effective use of fluoride for you. A little fluoride now may help you avoid a lot of dentistry later.

For more information about sealants, dental implants or any other dental question e-mail me at askdrlynn@yahoo.com.

Dear Readers:
Thank you so much for the great response to our new column. We received many excellent questions. Keep the questions coming!

About the Author

Lynn Malone, DDS, is a practicing dentist with the Center for Dental Excellence in Flossmoor, IL;   (800) 783-1893. She graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry in 1993.

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