4 Things You Should Know About Fluoride

Dentist cleaning the teeth of a patient

Every day, minerals are deposited and lost from your tooth enamel. The minerals are lost every time acids that are formed from sugars in the mouth and plaque bacteria attack your tooth enamel. One of these that are vital minerals is fluoride. Here are four things you should know about fluoride in regard to your oral health:

Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter

Fluoride makes tooth enamel stronger and more resistant to tooth decay. When the teeth erupt, this naturally-occurring mineral helps remineralize weakened enamel, thus helping reverse early tooth decay. Also, fluoride taken from water and food becomes part of the mucous. “Fluoridated saliva,” as Glenlake Dental Care calls it, bathes teeth with small amounts of fluoride that continue to rebuild weakened enamel.

Fluoride is available in different forms

You can get fluoride from foods and water. You can also directly apply fluoride to your teeth through over-the-counter fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinses. Your local dentist may also recommend fluoride treatments that include supplements, gel, foam and varnish.

People with certain conditions can benefit from fluoride treatment

You may benefit from fluoride treatment if you are wearing retainers or have problems such as dry mouth, gum disease, and a history of cavities. Such conditions can increase your risk of developing tooth decay.

Fluoride can be hazardous at high doses

Too much fluoride can be toxic, especially to children. Excess fluoride can also lead to a tooth enamel defect known as fluorosis. It’s, therefore, important to keep fluoride supplements and other fluoride products out of reach of kids. You should also supervise your child’s brushing and avoid giving her flavored toothpaste. And if you use well water, have it tested to ascertain its mineral levels.

Fluoride prevents mineral loss on the outer surface of teeth and replaces lost minerals. It also reduces the ability of plaque bacteria to make acid. These actions protect your teeth, prevents tooth decay from progressing and can even help reverse early tooth decay.