Most oral health products available today contain fluoride. You’ll also find fluoride added to many public water supplies because of its benefits to everyone’s oral health. Ridgetop Dental Group is a Northern VA family dentist here to explain how important fluoride is to your oral health and who needs it the most.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Fluoride has chemical properties that allow it to strengthen tooth enamel. The enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth that protects the sensitive tissues inside, and cavities develop when enamel is weakened. Fluoride is often called “nature’s cavity fighter” because of its remarkable ability to strengthen teeth and restore weakened enamel.
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in all water sources. Our bodies cannot make fluoride and can only get it from outside sources such as drinking water or topical fluoride sources like toothpaste or mouthwash.
When the body absorbs fluoride, it is absorbed by the tooth enamel. It reverses early stages of tooth decay by providing the chemical compounds needed to help the teeth replace calcium and phosphorus that harden enamel. Minerals present during this process, called remineralization, need fluoride present to allow the enamel to absorb them to keep it strong.
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 fluoride, too. Many public water supplies have fluoride added to them, and most toothpaste and mouthwash has added fluoride. Combining topical treatments with consuming fluoride keeps teeth strong and provides large scale dental care cost savings across communities.
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.