Fluoride intake is a key component of practicing good oral health. It offers many benefits, and it’s surprisingly easy to incorporate it into your dental routine.
What Is Fluoride?
Before we discuss the benefits of fluoride, let’s understand what it is. Fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs in water and foods. It is essential in strengthening tooth enamel. Studies have shown that when fluoride is in a community’s water supply, the amount of people suffering from tooth decay decreases.
What Are the Benefits of Fluoride?
Fluoride prevents tooth decay as it makes teeth more resistant to acid from bacteria and sugars that are in the mouth. When we eat and drink acidic foods and beverages, that acid attacks the enamel and demineralizes it. Fluoride remineralizes the enamel to help repair this layer and to keep your teeth healthy.
Fluoride can also reverse early decay and is, therefore, vitally important in early childhood oral health care. For children six and under, fluoride is important to the development of permanent teeth. Fluoride makes it harder for acids to demineralize teeth. Before teeth break through the surface of the gums, an intake of fluoride can strengthen tooth enamel. Fluoride can also speed up remineralization of weakened tooth enamel and disrupt acid production in teeth that have already broken through the gums in both children and adults.
How Is Fluoride Available?
One of the most common places to find fluoride is in water. It is naturally found in most water sources, and for the past 80 years, cities have added it to public water supplies to increase fluoride levels to the amount needed to help prevent tooth decay.
You can also purchase toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride. By brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, you can help your teeth build up a defense against tooth decay. If your child is using toothpaste with fluoride under the age of six, make sure to not use more than a pea-sized amount. When buying, be sure to look for the American Dental Association’s seal of approval.
If your water doesn’t contain fluoride, or if you think you might need more in your system, ask your doctor about fluoride supplements. These supplements are only available by prescription and come in lozenge, drop, or tablet form. Children between the ages of six months and sixteen years may need these supplements, but only if their drinking water doesn’t contain an adequate amount of fluoride.
If you’re looking for more information about fluoride, give us a call and we’ll schedule a check-up to make sure you and your loved ones are ingesting enough fluoride.