Fluoride: Your Mouth’s Best Friend

Garner Dentist Serving Patients From Cary, North Carolina and Surrounding Communities

Fluoride is something you may know of from stories about it being in the drinking water (in many places, this is true) – but what is it, really? This substance is a mineral that’s found in the earth’s crust, soil, water (fresh and salt) and some foods. It helps prevent tooth decay by making your teeth more resistant to it, and it can even reverse tooth decay that has already started.

This stuff is readily available in toothpastes and rinses that you can buy at any grocery or corner store and your dentist can also provide professional gels and varnishes, if you’re into that sort of thing.

How Fluoride Works

Fluoride gets into growing bones and teeth of children, which helps harden enamel on teeth before they emerge. It also works during de-and-re-mineralization process that happen naturally in the mouth. What’s demineralization? Well, after you eat, the acids in your saliva cause calcium and phosphorous that’s located under the tooth’s surface to dissolve. When saliva isn’t quite so acidic, the calcium and phosphorous are replenished. When there’s fluoride in the mix, the minerals are harder than they normally would be.

On the Flipside: Dental Fluorosis

What is Dental Fluorosis? It’s a change in the appearance of teeth. When you are taking in or using too much fluoride, often in early childhood, this is what happens. In its most common form, the teeth get small white specks on them.

About Water Fluoridation

When the level of fluoride in public drinking water is adjusted and/or increased, that’s dental fluoridation. Why is this done? Fluoride levels in drinking water are increased to help prevent community tooth decay instead of relying on the people to make use of the mineral on their own.

Aside from Dental Fluorosis, there are no health risks associated with water fluoridation.

Further Benefits of Fluoride

Not only does fluoride help protect against tooth decay, it repairs weak spots on tooth surfaces that could turn into cavities which, in turn, reduces the amount of money that people need to spend on dental care. It helps reduce pain and discomfort that tooth decay causes, including permanent tooth damage and tooth abscesses that are caused by tooth decay.

How You Know When You’re Getting Enough Fluoride

Is your drinking water fluoridated? Do you brush with a fluoride toothpaste? Then you’re getting enough fluoride. If your community does not have a fluoridated water source and doesn’t have much natural fluoride in it, your dentist might prescribe extra fluoride for you and your family. Check with your dentist to be absolutely sure.

Fluoride is Not the Be All and End All of Tooth Protection, However.

On top of brushing with fluoride toothpastes, using fluoride mouthwash and flossing regularly, there are other things that can help keep your teeth healthy. By having a healthy diet (more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, less processed stuff and sweets) and making regular dental visits, you can help make sure that you’ll always have healthy teeth.