If you went to the dentist as a child, you probably remember the fluoride treatments that the hygienist gave towards the end of your appointment. You may have questioned why you weren’t allowed to eat anything for the next thirty minutes but it’s doubtful that you questioned the role that fluoride plays in your dental health. Now as an adult you may be wondering what fluoride is and how it helps keep our mouths healthy.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in some foods and in most cases, is also found in your city water.
What Role Does Fluoride Play in Dental Health?
The outermost layer of our teeth, our enamel, is made up of tiny crystals that are fortified with minerals such as calcium, fluoride, and phosphate. The foods that we eat, particularly sugar and grains, can cause acid to be produced as it breaks down the food. Those acids can then affect our enamel, causing mineral loss, also referred to as demineralization.
When tooth enamel suffers from demineralization, it leaves your teeth more prone to bacteria build up and tooth decay. Through our diet and through dental treatments and fluoride enhanced products, we are able to supplement lost fluoride and aid in the remineralization of our tooth enamel. Strong, healthy tooth enamel is the first line of defense against tooth decay and also tooth sensitivity.
Who Can Benefit From Fluoride?
It was once believed that only children with developing teeth and bones could benefit from topical fluoride treatments. Today, however, it has been shown that fluoride aids adults in the remineralization process and is beneficial for their oral health as well.
Do I Need More Fluoride?
Most over the counter toothpastes and mouth rinses are fortified with fluoride and provide sufficient supplementation for adults. To gain the most benefit, try brushing with fluoride toothpaste or using a fluoride mouth rinse 1-2x a day.
Be careful with children, especially those under the age of 6, as they do not require the same amount of fluoride as adults. Use only a small amount of fluoride toothpaste for young children and monitor their exposure to fluoride in other sources to keep exposure at a safe and beneficial level.
At Easton Dentists, we believe that preventative care, which includes regular dental checkups, is one of the most important factors in maintaining your oral health. If you’re ready to schedule a visit at our Columbus Dental Center, contact us today. We’re here to help you move towards greater oral health!