Many of the oral health products available in stores contain fluoride. It’s also commonly added to public water supplies because of its remarkable ability to fight tooth decay. You might be surprised to know that fluoride has several key benefits to your oral health!
West Ashley Family Dentistry in Charleston, SC offers comprehensive dental care to patients of all ages and we are dedicated to helping you achieve your oral health goals. Learn more about how you can benefit from fluoride below.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel due to its chemical properties. The hard outer layer of the tooth is called the enamel, and it protects the sensitive tissues inside the teeth. Cavities develop when the enamel is weakened by plaque buildup, and fluoride can help reverse this. Fluoride is considered “nature’s cavity fighter” because of its effectiveness at reversing early signs of tooth decay and strengthening teeth.
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride is a mineral that the body needs to get from outside sources like drinking water or topical fluoride treatments like mouth rinse or toothpaste. Our bodies cannot make fluoride, but it’s a key mineral we need to stay healthy.
The body absorbs fluoride and when it reaches tooth enamel, it helps the teeth replace calcium and phosphorus that make the enamel hard. This process, called remineralization, requires fluoride present to allow the enamel to absorb the calcium and phosphorus. Without fluoride, enamel cannot get stronger, leaving you more susceptible to cavities.
Why Kids May Need Fluoride Treatments
In children, fluoride works beneath the gum line before teeth have erupted to ensure they develop properly. As children are still learning good oral hygiene, their dentist may recommend a topical treatment such as an at-home gel or an in-office fluoride varnish to ensure they are maximizing fluoride’s benefits.
Keep Enamel Strong At All Ages
Adults need to make sure they get fluoride from multiple sources. Combining topical treatments, like toothpaste and mouth rinses with fluoride, with consuming fluoride in water will keep teeth strong. Fluoridated water supplies have been shown to provide large scale dental care cost savings across communities.
In addition to consuming fluoride, don’t forget to schedule your regular dental exams and maintain good oral hygiene. Fluoride treatments are just one of the many ways you can keep your teeth healthy for the rest of your life.