Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally found in water and many foods. It plays an important role in developing healthy teeth and fighting tooth decay.
Your teeth are covered with a thin, hard outer layer called enamel. Enamel is made up of minerals. Every day, your enamel can lose minerals that protect your teeth. This process is called demineralization.
Demineralization occurs when plaque – a layer of bacteria that sticks to your teeth – breaks down the sugars in the foods you eat. This process produces acids that dissolve the minerals in the enamel.
If this acid erosion isn’t stopped, bacteria can make its way into the tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. Another word for tooth decay is “cavities.” Cavities can weaken your teeth and lead to pain, tooth loss or even infection in serious cases.
However, fluoride can protect your teeth from demineralization and decay by:
- Making your enamel stronger and more resistant to decay.
- Preventing bacteria from dissolving sugars into acids that attack your teeth.
- Reversing this process in the early stages of tooth decay; and helping your teeth to repair themselves. This process is called remineralization.
How You Can Add Fluoride to Your Daily Dental Care
You can get fluoride by drinking fluoridated water or by taking a fluoride supplement prescribed by your dentist, pediatrician or family doctor. Or, you can apply it directly to your teeth by using toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain fluoride.
At Danville Family Dentistry, we recommend that you thoroughly brush your teeth at least twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Also, you should floss between your teeth at least once a day. By doing these two things, you can help prevent tooth decay.
Also, Danville Family Dentistry offers professional fluoride treatments to strengthen your teeth and fight cavities. The fluoride used in our treatments has a higher strength than the amount of fluoride used in over-the-counter or prescription toothpastes and mouthwashes.
Anyone can benefit from fluoride treatments – from small children to older adults. However, it’s especially important for children to receive fluoride treatments. These treatments help in the development of their permanent teeth. Also, studies show that kids who have regular fluoride treatments may have 40% fewer cavities than kids who don’t have treatments.
Adults who have certain conditions like dry mouth, gum disease, or frequent cavities, can also reduce their risk of tooth decay by having fluoride treatments.
At Danville Family Dentistry, we care about the health of your and your family’s teeth. Talk to us today to see if you can benefit from a fluoride treatment.