What Fluoride Does for You
Hello again, Florida! We’re back with another blog from the office of Clearwater Dental Associates. One of the most important aspects of oral health is preventive care. So, we like to use this forum to keep you thinking about ways to protect your teeth and gums between visits to our office in Clearwater, FL.
It is very likely that you are all familiar with fluoride as an important ingredient in your fight to keep your teeth healthy. If nothing else you see it on the labels of your toothpaste and mouthwash. But how much do you really know about fluoride and what it does for your oral health? Here at Clearwater Dental Associates, we believe that understanding how your preventive care works is just as important as simply following instructions from your dentist. When you know the effects of oral hygiene procedures, you will be able to make informed decisions about how to best protect your oral health.
Fluoride and Your Teeth
Fluoride is so vital to your oral health that almost every public water source in the US is fortified with fluoride. This practice started in 1945 in Grand Rapids, MI, and today the CDC considers water fluoridation to be one of the top ten public health achievements of the 20th century.
The chemical fluoride can be found naturally in various sources, including bodies of water, although the amount of fluoride that occurs in water naturally is typically not enough to benefit your health.
Most of the effects of fluoride come from how it interacts with your enamel and other chemicals in your mouth. In effect, fluoride forms a protective barrier over your teeth’s enamel. This barrier directly combats dental caries, the bacteria that attack your teeth, causing tooth decay.
Dental caries damage your teeth by converting the sugar you eat into highly corrosive acid. However, fluoride stops this process by inhibiting the dental caries ability to create the dangerous acid. Soon, saliva will wash the sugar and bacteria, leaving your teeth safe and sound.
This direct interaction with the causes of tooth decay is not the only way fluoride protects your oral health. When ingested fluoride helps the development of strong enamel, which is especially important for children whose teeth are still forming. Also, studies have shown that fluoride helps your body use calcium to repair your teeth’s enamel in a process called remineralization, which replaces the minerals tooth decay removes from your teeth. So, fluoride does more than simply protect your teeth, it actually helps to repair them!
Sources of Fluoride
As we have already mentioned, most US cities add fluoride to their public drinking water, this has led to a 25% decrease in tooth decay in children and adults over the past few decades. If you do not have access to fluoridated water, then there are alternatives available. For instance, most popular brands of toothpaste contain fluoride, as do many mouthwashes. When choosing your oral health care products be sure to check the active ingredients to make sure fluoride is among them.
Preventive Care in Clearwater, FL
There are many other ways to protect yourself from oral health problems like tooth decay. Keeping regular appointments with Clearwater Dental Associates is one of them. We will provide professional cleanings to keep your teeth free of cavity causing plaque and tartar, and our comprehensive examinations will allow us to address any oral health threats before they become serious ones.
So, don’t wait. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.