You go to the dentist. Sit through the cleaning and inspection. And then, at the end, comes the fluoride treatment. But how does fluoride help your teeth? It’s a common question – and a good one. Let’s take a look at it.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral often found in water. When produced synthetically, it is most commonly found in toothpaste and other dental products such as mouth rinses, flosses, and fillings. The American Dental Association calls fluoride “nature’s cavity fighter.”
How Does Fluoride Help Your Teeth Fight Cavities?
When the bacteria in your mouth combines with sugar from the food you eat, it produces enough acid to weaken the enamel and leach precious minerals like calcium and phosphorus from your teeth. This process is called demineralization.
However, the fluoride in your toothpaste changes the structure of the enamel in your teeth. The change makes it harder and more resistant to bacteria. In addition, it reverses the early signs of tooth decay by replenishing the lost minerals in the areas that have been previously decalcified by acids. This positive process is called remineralization.
As for children, their teeth are understandably still in the development stage. Fluoride helps strengthen their tooth enamel so they can withstand the constant onslaught of bacteria and sugars. The earlier their teeth are exposed to fluoride, the less likely they are to develop tooth decay.
Because of its dental benefits, communities all over the country add small doses of fluoride to their water systems.
How Much Fluoride Do You Actually Need?
The recommended daily allowance for fluoride among female adults is 3 milligrams, while male adults benefit from 4 milligrams every day.
Children from 4 to 13 years of age can have 1 to 2 milligrams. However, infants and smaller children are recommended to have slightly more than a half milligram.
How Can You Get Enough Fluoride?
There are two ways to get fluoride: topically (on the surface) and systematically (inside the body). Here are the most common ways you can incorporate fluoride in your routine:
- Tooth Brushing
Brush your teeth regularly and use a fluoride toothpaste. Also make sure you’re thoroughly cleaning all tooth surfaces – even the surfaces along the gum line – so you don’t miss anything.
- Dietary Consumption
Drinking water and consuming foods like tea, coffee, red meat, fish, shellfish, and potatoes can also provide you with fluoride content.
- Dental Visits
If needed, your dentist here at Premier may prescribe you with a concentrated fluoride treatment. The treatment comes in the form of a gel, foam, or rinse.
Hopefully, that answers your questions about “how does fluoride help your teeth?” If you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough fluoride or are suffering from tooth decay, please call Premier at (865) 637-5708 or book your appointment online!