When you visit the dentist, you hear fluoride mentioned. You also know fluoride is in your tap water. However, people in other countries do not necessarily receive this supplement in their drinking water. So how does fluoride help oral health and do we really need it? Is fluoride in toothpaste enough to keep your teeth healthy and strong?
How Does Fluoride Help Oral Health?
Many people do not realize that fluoride exists in all water. Even the oceans contain fluoride. But many municipalities add more fluoride to tap water to supplement how much is naturally available. So how does fluoride help oral health and why must we have it?
Studies prove that fluoride reduces cavities in people of all ages. It also helps repair tooth decay and damage, even before that decay is visible to you or your dentist. No other supplement fights cavities as well as fluoride. This is why it is so vital for children to receive enough fluoride during the development of their teeth.
Fluoride Keeps Your Teeth Strong
To go into greater depth about how does fluoride help oral health, consider what it does for your teeth. Fluoride absorbs into your tooth enamel. It helps your enamel rebuild and repair, by replacing lost phosphorous and calcium that keep your teeth strong and the enamel surface hard.
Enamel is the outer layer of your tooth, above its roots and the gumline. Enamel is made up of tightly packed crystals made of minerals. When you lose the minerals in this network, you suffer demineralization. Fluoride helps you rebuild the lost minerals in a process called remineralization.
Plaque bacteria break down the enamel of your teeth. You remove these acids through brushing and flossing, as well as during dental visits when the hygienist cleans your teeth. Your body replaces lost minerals through saliva. Your saliva contains the fluoride you take into your body through drinking water, tooth brushing, and other supplementation.
When you eat or drink small doses of fluoride, it also enters your bloodstream. For children, this fluoride in the blood makes its way into developing teeth. The fluoride makes it harder for plaque bacteria to damage tooth surfaces.
Using fluoride toothpaste or rinses deposits the mineral-building substance right onto your teeth. You can also get fluoride treatments from your dentist. This speeds up the mineral building process and helps stop plaque bacteria in its tracks.
Do I Need Fluoride Treatments or Supplementation?
Visiting your dentist twice a year helps you know if you need fluoride treatments or supplementation. Your dentist examines your teeth and makes recommendations according to what he sees in your mouth. Other critical dental services include:
Feel free to ask your dentist about how does fluoride help oral health. Call S. Keith Mahan, DDS in Orlando, Florida for the dental care you need. Schedule your first visit by calling 407-706-3873 now.