When you get your teeth cleaned at the dentist, the hygienist applies a fluoride treatment to your teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends toothpastes with fluoride. So what’s the big deal with fluoride? Here are 4 things you should know about fluoride and why it’s so important to your oral health.
Fluoride Is A Mineral
Fluoride is a natural compound, found in many different things.
- Specific Foods
One important thing to know about is that it is easily absorbed into tooth enamel.
Enamel and Tooth Decay
The outer covering of your tooth is called enamel; it’s actually the hardest tissue in the human body. If you damage your teeth, the results are permanent because enamel cannot be repaired. Plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth form acids, which attack and break down the tooth’s enamel. When your enamel is compromised, you’re at greater risk for developing cavities and tooth decay. This is why it’s so important to protect your enamel and keep your teeth healthy.
Fluoride: Enamel’s Defense
Fluoride strengthens your enamel through remineralization; the compound helps rebuild enamel. It also provides protective qualities, making enamel more resistant to the acids that cause tooth decay.
In young children, before their teeth break through the gums, the fluoride they ingest already begins to strengthen the enamel of the teeth. This benefit is known as a “systemic benefit.” Once the teeth break through the gums, fluoride helps rebuild and strengthen enamel, known as a “topical benefit.”
Can Fluoride Be Dangerous?
Fluoride can be dangerous if a person ingests too much of it. The U.S. Public Health Service made fluoridating water an official policy to help fight tooth decay in Americans and many public water sources are infused with fluoride. The compound is already naturally in water, but not in the levels that help strengthen enamel. The ADA president supports adding fluoride to water. Ultimately, it’s up to each person to decide whether their families will drink water that has the added compound.
Dental fluorosis occurs in children up to eight years old who have been overexposed to fluoride. It can result in staining, surface irregularities, and noticeable pits on teeth. The best way to prevent this is to make sure they don’t take in too much fluoride; make sure they aren’t swallowing toothpaste with fluoride in it.
Products with Fluoride
There are toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain fluoride. Look for ADA-seal products on the market because they contain fluoride. Toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride can help strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities, as long as you use the products appropriately.
Fluoride helps strengthen your teeth and improves your overall oral health. For more information about fluoride or to schedule a dental appointment, contact Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas. We are dedicated to providing you and your loved ones with the best dental care.