How Does Fluoride Strengthen Teeth?

There is a reason why fluoride is added to toothpaste and drinking water. Studies show that this compound has the power to strengthen teeth, and it’s added to almost every type of toothpaste on the market.

Some studies show that adding fluoride to drinking water can reduce cavities by as much as 30 percent. In 1945, it was added to public water supplies for the first time. When this happened, the average rate of tooth decay declined significantly. In other words, Americans benefited from reduced tooth loss and decay.

Why Fluoride is Important for Teeth

The outer portion of a tooth is comprised of enamel, which consists of closely packed mineral crystals. Every day, you lose and gain some enamel. When minerals are lost from the enamel, the process is called demineralization, and it starts with the bacteria on your teeth.

Bacteria feed off of carbohydrates and sugars, and as they eat, the bacteria produce corrosive acids. The crystals in your tooth enamel are dissolved by the acids. Fortunately, the loss of enamel is balanced by the addition of new minerals, which can be found in saliva.

Right now, there is a good chance that your saliva contains phosphate, calcium and fluoride, and minerals are getting deposited back into your tooth enamel. If you lose too many minerals from your tooth enamel, and the enamel is never replenished, you’ll end up with severe tooth decay.

There are several ways that fluoride helps your teeth. It’s especially important for children because it enters the bloodstream and becomes part of their permanent teeth. When the compound is swallowed, it gets into your saliva and strengthens the outside of your teeth.

The acids produced by mouth bacteria are much less likely to damage teeth that are strengthened by enamel. Toothpaste serves as an effective way to apply fluoride directly to teeth.

Strengthening Teeth with Fluoride Treatments

These treatments can be very effective at protecting and strengthening teeth. The treatment might include varnish, foam or gel, and the concentration of fluoride in a professional treatment is much higher than what you’d find in over-the-counter alternatives. It’s also stronger than what you’d find in toothpastes and mouthwash.

If you’re at a higher risk for developing cavities, then you could benefit from professional treatments. Depending on your overall level of oral health, you might want to get these treatments every three to six months. The remineralization process caused by fluoride can actually reverse cavities and fill damaged areas of your teeth, so it could serve as a great way to strengthen your own teeth.

Schedule an appointment at the office of Dr. Brodie Bowman, DMD to learn more about how we can strengthen your teeth. We have offices in Fort Walton Beach and Niceville. Contact us today to book your appointment!