You’re probably aware that fluoride is in most toothpaste for adults, or you’ve heard of fluoride treatments for children. Fluoride is a necessary part of your oral hygiene regimen, as it offers several benefits to your oral health.
Dr. Brent L. Blaylock is a Durham, NC dentist offering comprehensive dental care and education for patients of all ages. Learn more about how fluoride benefits your oral and overall health.
What Fluoride Does For Your Teeth
Fluoride has been called “nature’s cavity fighter” because of its remarkable ability to strengthen teeth and reverse signs of tooth decay. Fluoride’s chemical properties allow it to strengthen enamel, the outer layer of the teeth that stays hard to protect the tissues inside. Weakened enamel makes teeth more susceptible to tooth decay.
How Fluoride Works On Teeth
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 helping the teeth replace calcium and phosphorus that make the enamel hard. 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
Fluoride is necessary in all stages of life, even before teeth have erupted. In children, fluoride works beneath the surface to ensure teeth develop properly. As children learn good oral hygiene, their dentist may recommend a topical fluoride treatment such as a fluoride varnish or at-home gel to prevent them from getting cavities.
Keep Enamel Strong At All Ages
Everyone benefits from fluoride. Many public water supplies are fluoridated, meaning that fluoride has been added to the water before it gets to you. Most toothpaste and mouthwash has fluoride added to it to strengthen teeth topically. This combination of consuming fluoride and topical treatments keep teeth strong.
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.