The Power of Fluoride for your Teeth
The best way to protect your teeth from the dangers of decay is to take steps to prevent decay from ever taking place. Preventive care is a very important component of oral health care. Of course, the most basic form of preventive care is basic oral hygiene habits, like brushing and flossing twice every day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the fluoridation of drinking water is ranked among the ten greatest public health achievements of 20th century America. However, a quick search of the internet tells us that fluoride is actually toxic if ingested in large enough quantities. So which is it? Do the health benefits outweigh the negatives of fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water? We at Jeffrey L. Angart, DDS know that you care a great deal about your oral health, so we’ve put this article together to examine the facts and help you come to your own decision. As always, we are happy to answer any questions you might have, so feel free to give us a call!
One of the most important weapons in the fight against tooth decay is fluoride. Tooth decay occurs when minerals are removed from your tooth enamel without being replaced in a process called remineralization. Fluoride, along with calcium and phosphate, help your body to replace the minerals, repairing your enamel. If your diet is deficient in these minerals, remineralization will not take place. And then you have tooth decay.
Do you need a professional fluoride treatment?
At Jeffrey L. Angart, DDS we will do a thorough evaluation of your mouth and suggest a professional fluoride treatment if you:
- Have several crowns, especially ones that contain corrosive metals
- Have had a cavity within the last 3 years (High Risk category)
- Have gingivitis caused by moderate to heavy plaque
- Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments
How Fluoride Works
Fluoride forms a protective barrier on your enamel that helps it resist attack from the acid created by sugar and bacteria. It will slow the acid’s ability to demineralize your teeth, while encouraging remineralization. In other words, fluoride on your teeth can stop and the repair early stages of tooth decay.
Plaque is a thin film of bacteria that covers your teeth. When you eat sugary foods, plaque turns that sugar into acid. Fluoride, however, will inhibit this process by reducing plaque’s ability to produce acid. No acid, no tooth decay. It’s that simple.
Fluoride helps strengthen your enamel during the initial development of your teeth, which is why it is so important for children to get fluoride. They will be less likely to get cavities down the road if their teeth are stronger and more resistant to decay in the first place.
Sources for Fluoride
Naturally occurring levels of fluoride in fruits, vegetables, meat, grain, eggs, milk, and fresh water supplies are generally very low (less than 0.1 ppm). There are only three exceptions to this rule that you need to know: seafood, tea, and water from deep wells all have elevated fluoride levels in the absence of human activity.
Fluoridated Water – In the US, public water sources have been fortified with fluoride for over 60 years. The practice has been so successful in preventing tooth decay that other parts of the world are starting to adopt it. In Europe, areas that do not have access to public water sources supplement their fluoride intake with fluoridated table salt. Guess what – if you drink bottled water, you are likely not getting fluoride either. So, if you aren’t getting fluoride from your water, you need to be getting it from somewhere.
This is probably the most common and direct form of fluoride application. Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste is probably something you’ve done as long as you’ve had teeth. While the act of brushing alone does a lot to protect your teeth, as far as the toothpaste goes, if it doesn’t contain fluoride, then it is doing nothing more than freshening your breath.
Like toothpaste, mouthwash has little preventive care value if it does not contain fluoride. People use mouthwash for a variety of different reasons, but if you want your mouthwash to help prevent tooth decay, you better read the label to make sure it contains fluoride.
Let Us Help You
At Jeffrey L. Angart, DDS, our goal is to help you maintain strong oral health, whether that means replacing a missing tooth in order to prevent further decay or educating you on ways to keep the teeth you have for as long as possible. Preventive care has many facets, and fluoride use is just one of them. ICall us today for an appointment!
- Fluoride treatments are great for any age.
- Rx Fluoride toothpaste used daily
Contact us today to schedule an appointment. 614.775.0840
Information provided by RDH Magazine