Fluoride intake is an essential part of maintaining good oral health. But what is fluoride and what exactly are the benefits of using it?
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in water and foods. Studies show that adding fluoride to a community’s water supply dramatically decreases the number of people suffering from tooth decay.
Benefits of Fluoride
Fluoride strengthens your tooth enamel. It helps prevent tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to acid from sugar and bacteria found in the mouth. Everytime we eat and drink acidic foods, that acid wears down the enamel and demineralizes it. Fluoride remineralizes and repairs enamel. This keeps your teeth healthy and strong!
Additionally, fluoride has been shown to reverse early signs of tooth decay. This mineral is vital for early childhood. For children 6 and under, fluoride is incorporated into permanent teeth as they develop. This means that it’s harder for acids to demineralize these teeth down the road. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel even before teeth break through the gums! In teeth that have already broken through the gums, fluoride accelerates remineralization of weakened enamel and disrupts acid production.
Products With Fluoride
Fluoride is naturally found in most water supplies but for the past 80 years it’s also been added to public water supplies. However, if your water doesn’t contain fluoride or you think you need to increase your fluoride intake, ask your doctor about fluoride supplements. These lozenges, drops, or tablets are available by prescription only. They are recommended for children between 6 months and 16 years old in places where there is not an adequate level of fluoride in the drinking water.
You can also buy mouthwash and toothpaste that contains fluoride to help your teeth build up a defense against tooth decay. For children under the age of 6, make sure they only use about a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. And be sure to check your products for the American Dental Association’s seal of approval.
If you’re looking for more information about fluoride, get in touch with our office and we’ll schedule a checkup to make sure you and your loved ones are getting enough!