Everyone has heard of fluoride and that it is supposed to help the teeth stay strong and resist decay. For that reason, fluoride is available in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and the like. It is also added to most municipal water supplies (it also occurs in water naturally). Occasionally, some fringe group thinks fluoridated water is a government conspiracy and pushes to have fluoride removed. But fluoride is keeping many of those same people’s teeth in their mouths.
Here’s some info on this ubiquitous dental mineral.
What is fluoride and how does it protect the teeth?
Every day, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. It’s the demineralization that’s the problem. Minerals are lost from a tooth’s enamel layer when acids, formed from the bacteria in plaque and sugars in the mouth, attack the enamel. Fortunately, when you eat foods and drink water, minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate remineralize the teeth. Therein lies the ongoing battle — too much demineralization without remineralization results in tooth decay.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. It helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth enamel more resistant to those acids from bacteria and sugars in the mouth. Fluoride also has the cool effect of reversing early cases of decay. For kids under 6, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth. This makes the teeth resistant to the assault of acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also speeds remineralization and disrupts acid production in the mouth.
When is fluoride the most beneficial?
It was thought that only children benefit from fluoride, but new research shows that topical fluoride from toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments are important to help adult teeth fight decay. For children, it’s long been known that children between 6 months and 16 years need fluoride to help build their teeth.
Fluoride treatments at the Doctors of Dental Medicine
So, now you know that fluoride is one of your mouth’s best friends. We provide fluoride treatments at the Doctors of Dental Medicine to give our patients a more concentrated occasional fluoride application. It’s a good idea for everyone, kids and adults alike, to have a fluoride treatment. Call us at 732-329-3113 and set up your appointment.