Fluoride is a controversial topic in the health and dental world—though it shouldn’t be. Many people are concerned about the use of fluoride in dental applications and in fortifying municipal water supplies, but this is simply due to misinformation. Fluoride is safe and effective and is critical in preventing tooth decay and ensuring dental health. So, what is fluoride and why is it important?
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found throughout the Earth. It occurs naturally in certain foods and water sources. It is also added to the water in many communities. Dentists use fluoride treatments to prevent tooth decay in their patients, and many kinds of toothpaste also contain fluoride.
Why is Fluoride Important?
Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel which keeps teeth white and strong and prevents decay. In adults, it hardens the tooth enamel of already emerged teeth; in children, it concentrates in their growing teeth and bones before the teeth even emerge!
Teeth undergo a natural demineralization and remineralization process naturally, and fluoride participates in that process. After you eat, acids in your saliva dissolve some of the calcium and phosphorous below the tooth surface (this is called demineralization). When your saliva is less acidic at other times, it replenishes the phosphorus and calcium. When fluoride is present during remineralization, it makes the calcium and phosphorus harder and less likely to dissolve in the future, which keeps teeth strong.
How do You Get Enough Fluoride?
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
- Get regular fluoride treatments at the dentist
- Brush your teeth (with fluoride toothpaste) twice per day
- Drink tap water that contains fluoride
- Ensure that if you drink a lot of bottled water that it is fluoridated
- Eat fruits and vegetables that naturally contain fluoride
Time for a fluoride treatment or dental checkup? Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry