Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Understanding Fluoride and the Role It Plays in Keeping Teeth Healthy

Every dental patient knows that fluoride helps build strong teeth. That’s why your dentist always recommends using fluoride toothpaste. But what exactly is fluoride? In its natural state, it’s a mineral commonly found in nature, but many towns add it as a supplement to their water supply to help prevent cavities in residents.

How Does Fluoride Work?

It’s important to know what causes tooth decay to understand how fluoride improves oral health. When plaque builds up on the surface of the tooth, it produces acids that seep into the tooth’s enamel. If untreated, this may turn into a cavity that destroys the tooth’s structure. Fluoride prevents tooth decay because it aids the tooth enamel's remineralization process and slows the breakdown of enamel. The new enamel crystals that form with the help of fluoride are larger and harder, proving to be more resistant to acid.

How Much Fluoride is Enough?

Most dental professionals agree that patients who use fluoride toothpaste and brush their teeth with fluoride water receive adequate doses of the mineral. Patients who live in areas where fluoride is not added to water need to use mouth rinses, drops, tablets, or other products with high concentrations of fluoride.

Every patient has different needs, so it’s important to speak with your dentist to be sure your teeth are getting the minerals they need to stay strong and healthy.