Fluoride is something most of us have heard about from our dentists but most do not know much about this important element. It is a naturally occurring mineral that is usually absorbed from water and food sources but most people today do not get enough of it. Fluoride helps replenish the protective covering on your teeth which is known as enamel. Each day, tiny amounts of the enamel wear off and minerals, including fluoride, help replenish it. If the wear exceeds the replacement then the teeth will be weakened and more susceptible to cavities and other dental issues. It can also slow the decay process and adds an extra protective layer to the teeth so they are more resistant to plaque buildup and can fight cavities and gum disease. Fluoride and dental care go hand in hand and it is an important part of good dental health practices that we here at TLC Dentistry recommend for all of our patients.
How Does Fluoride and Dental Care Work?
Fluoride helps prevent cavities in several different ways, the most critical being the strengthening of the enamel covering of the teeth. This is beneficial for children especially but adults too can benefit from the added boost of protection. Fluoride and dental care have long been talked about together and here at TLC Dentistry, we are committed to helping more people understand how they can take care of their teeth with fluoride and proper brushing and flossing practices. Most people have a handle on daily dental cleaning but the use of fluoride is still a mystery to many. We hope to change that!
“Fluoride helps to harden the enamel on adult teeth that have already emerged. Fluoride works during the demineralization and remineralization processes that naturally occur in your mouth. After you eat, your saliva contains acids that cause demineralization a dissolving of the calcium and phosphorous under the tooth’s surface. At other times when your saliva is less acidic it does just the opposite, replenishing the calcium and phosphorous that keep your teeth hard. This process is caused remineralization”(Oral and Dental Health). Balancing out the loss and addition of these minerals helps keep teeth healthy and strong and reduces instances of decay and lowers the chance of needing treatments like fillings or experiencing the loss of a tooth due to bacterial decay or gum disease.
We are here to help you master good dental health practices and encourage all of our patients to consider using fluoride in their normal routine, in some shape or form. While fluoride and dental care go hand in hand it is important to follow all the other good dental health practices your dentists recommends to you.
How do I Know if I’m Getting Enough Fluoride?
The vast majority of people need no special treatments for fluoride as they get enough through their water and brushing routine. If your drinking water is fluoridated then all you will need to do is use a fluoride toothpaste in your daily brushing regimen and you should be getting the levels you need to protect your teeth. For those without a fluoride water source, their dentist might recommend occasional treatments or the addition of a monthly fluoride treatment with special mouthwash. Children are often given fluoride varnish on their baby teeth to help protect them as their teeth develop and to help give an extra layer of protection as they learn proper oral care practices.
Are There Risks Associated With Fluoride Use?
Like everything else in life, too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and fluoride is no exception. Getting too much can cause white spots to form on teeth, swallowing fluoride in larger amounts can cause stomach upset or vomiting and some reports say there may be long-term health risks of fluoride poisoning, especially in children. This is why it is important to follow all instructions given by your dentist and to careful instruct and monitor children on how to use toothpaste and mouthwash safely.
It is important to keep in mind, that reaching hazardous levels of fluoride is very difficult. This is due to the fact that the only real way to get an overdose is in the misuse of toothpaste and mouthwashes. So, while you need fluoride and dental care routines, you also need to be smart and use common sense to keep you and your family healthy and safe.
Contact Us Today!
If you have any questions about good dental health practices that you should be following and how to make sure you are getting the right level of fluoride for your needs, call TLC Dentistry today. We would love the opportunity to meet with you and help you develop the best care plan for you or your family!