Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has been shown to be highly effective in maintaining strong teeth. It is commonly found in water, soil, rocks, and many foods. Fluoride has been added to public water supplies since the 1940s as a way to improve dental health. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of fluoride in maintaining strong teeth.
How does fluoride work?
Fluoride works by strengthening the enamel of your teeth, which is the hard outer layer that protects your teeth from decay. When you consume fluoride, it is absorbed into your bloodstream and then deposited into your developing teeth. As a result, fluoride helps to make your teeth more resistant to the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth, which can cause tooth decay.
In addition to strengthening your teeth, fluoride can also help to repair early stages of tooth decay. This process is called remineralization, and it occurs when fluoride combines with the minerals in your saliva to create a protective barrier around your teeth.
How much fluoride do you need?
The amount of fluoride you need depends on your age and other factors, such as where you live and your diet. In general, children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years need the most fluoride because their teeth are still developing. Adults also benefit from fluoride, but they typically require lower levels than children.
The American Dental Association recommends that children receive fluoride treatments from their dentist every six months and that adults use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash as part of their daily oral hygiene routine.
What are the sources of fluoride?
Fluoride is found in many sources, including:
- Tap water: Many public water supplies are fluoridated, meaning they have been treated with fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. If you drink bottled water, be sure to check the label to see if it contains fluoride.
- Toothpaste: Most toothpaste brands contain fluoride, which helps to strengthen and protect your teeth. Be sure to choose a toothpaste that has been approved by the American Dental Association.
- Mouthwash: Some mouthwashes contain fluoride, which can help to strengthen your teeth and freshen your breath.
- Professional treatments: Your dentist can provide fluoride treatments in the form of a gel, foam, or varnish. These treatments are highly concentrated and can be used to help repair early stages of tooth decay.
In conclusion, fluoride plays an important role in maintaining strong teeth. It works by strengthening the enamel of your teeth and repairing the early stages of tooth decay. To ensure that you are getting enough fluoride, be sure to drink fluoridated water, use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, and receive fluoride treatments from your dentist as recommended. By incorporating fluoride into your oral hygiene routine, you can help to prevent tooth decay and maintain a healthy smile.