Fluoride is found in oral health products like toothpaste and mouthwash, but you may not know just how powerful it is. This essential mineral is often added to public water supplies because of its significant benefits to public oral health. Dr. Gianni Franceschi, DDS, FICOI is a Dawson Academy trained dentist in Trinity, FL who understands that the maintenance and care of your smile is an important part of your overall healthcare. Learn about why fluoride is called “nature’s cavity fighter” and why we all need it.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Fluoride’s chemical properties allow it to strengthen the hard outer layer of the teeth called the enamel. Cavities develop when enamel is weakened, whether by acidic foods, bacteria buildup, or other causes. Fluoride is often called “nature’s cavity fighter” because of the properties that give it its ability to strengthen teeth and actually restore weakened enamel.
How Does Fluoride Work?
Our bodies cannot naturally make fluoride, so we need to get it from outside sources like drinking water or topical fluoride sources like mouthwash or toothpaste. Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in all water sources, but many public water supplies have fluoride added to them. This is because fluoride is definitively linked to improving oral health and reducing health care costs to an entire community.
When the body absorbs fluoride, it is absorbed by the tooth enamel. It reverses early stages of tooth decay by helping the teeth replace calcium and phosphorus that make the enamel hard. Minerals present during this process, called remineralization, need fluoride present to allow the enamel to absorb them to keep it strong.
Who Needs Fluoride Treatments?
In children, fluoride works beneath the gum line before teeth have erupted to ensure they develop properly. As children are still learning good oral hygiene, their dentist may recommend a topical treatment such as an at-home gel or an in-office fluoride varnish to ensure they are maximizing fluoride’s benefits.
Adults need fluoride, too. Many public water supplies have fluoride added to them, and most toothpaste and mouthwash has added fluoride. Combining topical treatments with consuming fluoride keeps teeth strong and provides large scale dental care cost savings across communities.
Trinity, FL Dentist
Don’t forget to schedule your regular dental exams and maintain good oral hygiene. Fluoride treatments are just one of the many ways you can keep your teeth healthy for the rest of your life.