At Dr. Dental, a topic we discuss frequently with patients is the importance of fluoride for your teeth. Today we’re going to break down what that means exactly.
First, what is fluoride exactly? Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, even the oceans. The fluoride ion comes from the element fluorine and is the 17th most abundant element in the earth’s crust.
Research shows that fluoride is effective in preventing and reversing the early signs of tooth decay. First, it makes the tooth stronger, so teeth are more resistant to acid attacks. Repeated acid attacks can break down the tooth, which causes cavities. Second, fluoride acts to repair, or remineralize, areas where acid attacks have begun. Remineralization is important because it reverses the early decay process and also creates a tooth surface more resistant to decay.
Sources of Fluoride
- Community water. Community water fluoridation has been around for more than 50 years and works to adjust the fluoride content in water to make it the optimal level for dental health. Fluoridated water can be consumed from sources other than your home water supply too, such as in the workplace, in schools and/or daycares, with fluoridated bottled water and from processed beverages that use fluoridated water.
- Fluoride toothpaste. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends children two and up and adults use fluoride toothpaste displaying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
- Fluoride mouth rinses. These types of rinses are designed to be rinsed in the mouth and spit out and can be purchased over the counter, or prescribed by one of our dentists. The ADA recommends the use of fluoride mouth rinses, but not for children under six to avoid it being swallowed.
- Professionally-applied fluorides in gels, foams or rinses. This type of treatment can be applied by one of our dentists during a visit. These fluorides are more concentrated and therefore are not needed as frequently.
- Dietary fluoride supplements (tablets, drops or lozenges). These supplements are available by prescription and are intended for use by children ages six months to 16 years living in non-fluoridated areas and who are at a high risk of developing tooth decay.
In conclusion, no matter how you get the fluoride you need, whether it is through drinking water, toothpaste, or from a treatment from one of our Dr. Dental offices, you can rest assured that fluoride is silently working to fight decay and keep your teeth healthy. Now that’s something to SMILE about!
Do you have additional questions about fluoride? Please give our experts here at Dr. Dental a call to schedule an appointment!
Our family-owned dental offices are proud to bring affordable smiles to all ages at convenient locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island.