You may have heard the term fluoride before, but not been entirely sure what it is. Maybe you’ve seen it on your toothpaste tube, but not given it another thought. Or maybe you’ve been curious but haven’t had the time to dive in. At Dakota Dental, we’ve put together a few key insights about the benefits of fluoride treatment to keep you educated about its role in your oral hygiene!
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral found in your teeth and bones, the Earth’s crust, plants, soil, rocks, water, and even air! This compound is recommended by dentists because it strengthens tooth enamel, which in turn protects your teeth.
Enamel, the outermost layer of teeth, fortifies your teeth against plaque and bacteria. Daily fluoride use (say in toothpaste, mouthwash, and local water) enhances that protection.
The Benefits of Fluoride
The benefits of fluoride are many. Fluoride can prevent the spread of bacteria in the mouth and strengthen tooth enamel. The stronger that enamel is, the less susceptible you are to cavities and tooth sensitivity. In some cases fluoride can even undo the early signs of tooth decay.
Did you know when children eat or drink small doses of fluoride, it ends up becoming a part of their permanent teeth? In fact, the benefits of fluoride were discovered back in the 1930’s when scientists realized that kids who grew up drinking naturally fluoridated water had stronger teeth than those who didn’t! When fluoride is added to a water supply, studies routinely show that tooth decay in that area goes down.
Why Do Dentists Use Fluoride?
What we eat and drink can lead to bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria feeds on sugars in your mouth, creating an acidic saliva that weakens tooth enamel. This is known as demineralization. Fluoride works to combat that process by replenishing the minerals in your mouth that keep your teeth protected. This process is aptly called remineralization.
Both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association agree on the benefits of fluoride, confirming that it’s both safe and effective when it comes to oral hygiene. Professional dental applications of fluoride as a gel or varnish are recommended by the American Dental Association every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on the state of your teeth!
Water in Your Community
Curious to know about fluoride in your community’s water supply? The CDC has an online function that allows you to search whether fluoride has been added to your water, and if so, how much! If you’re not drinking fluoridated water, consider using a toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride so your teeth can experience its positive effects.
Thinking it’s time for a professional to look at your teeth and apply a dose of nature’s cavity fighter? At Dakota Dental, we’re here to take care of you. We’ve seen firsthand the benefits of fluoride — how it can protect your teeth and enhance your smile. And our goal is to give you the best, healthiest smile possible.