It’s not uncommon to hear your dentist talk about fluoride. It has proven benefits and can prevent serious dental issues. Fluoride occurs naturally in many types of food and water. Each day, your teeth lose and gain minerals from the layer of enamel that protects them.
The acids that come from plaque can eat away at the enamel on teeth. Phosphate, calcium and fluoride are minerals that get re-deposited onto enamel when you drink water or eat foods that contain these minerals.
Fluoride has been shown to prevent tooth decay because it makes teeth more resistant to the acid produced by sugars and plaque. It even has the power to reverse early tooth decay, and it’s especially important for the development of permanent teeth, which is why it’s commonly given to children under six.
Why Fluoride is Important for Your Teeth
The outer layer of the crown of a tooth is where enamel is located. The enamel consists of mineral crystals, which are packed together closely. When demineralization occurs, you lose some of these small crystals from your tooth enamel.
Fortunately, you gain the crystals back by eating certain foods and drinking water that contains fluoride. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and produces acids, and it’s these acids that break down the enamel.
If you lose too much enamel and don’t replace enough of it, you can end up with some serious tooth decay. There are two major ways that fluoride helps teeth, and it’s especially important for children. After fluoride enters the bloodstream, it becomes a part of children’s developing teeth.
Fluoride also becomes part of saliva, which helps to strengthen the outside surface of teeth. If teeth are strengthened with fluoride, they’re far less likely to be damaged by the acids that are produced by plaque.
By using toothpaste that contains fluoride, the mineral can be applied directly to teeth. Many types of mouthwash also contain this mineral. Another great way to make sure your teeth are getting enough fluoride is with professional treatments.
How Fluoride Treatments Can Help
For individuals older than 16, fluoride treatments can be very beneficial. During the treatment, a topical fluoride solution is applied directly to teeth.
Additional Benefits of Fluoride
The greatest benefit that fluoride has to offer is its ability to help protect against tooth decay. It cannot completely prevent tooth decay alone, but when combined with proper oral hygiene and healthy eating habits, it can be very effective against tooth decay.
For over 50 years, we’ve known about the benefits of fluoride. By slowing down the breakdown of tooth enamel, fluoride provides significant protection to teeth. There are many ways to get fluoride naturally, but some people need professional fluoride treatments. If you have any questions, please contact the office of Dr. Brodie Bowman today and schedule a consultation.