Why All the Fuss Over Fluoride?
If you have ever been curious as to what all the fuss over fluoride is about, why it is in your toothpaste, or how much you really should use, then keep reading! Demystify fluoride and learn everything you need to know about this mineral used by dentists everywhere.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is an odorless, colorless, naturally-occurring mineral that can be located just about anywhere on Earth. It can be found in gas, solid and liquid states and, when used in tiny doses, has been shown to harden teeth and inhibit tooth decay. It is because of these reasons that fluoride is usually added in very minimal doses to the drinking water of cities. Also, it has been shown to limit the development of cavities when compared to cities without fluoridated drinking water.
How Does Fluoride Protect My Teeth?
Fluoride protects your teeth in several different ways. One is by hardening the structures of the teeth in small children, usually younger than seven, which are still in the developmental stages for the enamel. If the correct quantity of fluoride is administered during these years, the physical structure of the enamel is reinforced and becomes more immune to acids. This means that, as your child gets older, they will have a set of teeth that are protected from the start.
When plaque collects on and around the teeth, the harmful bacteria within it are in immediate contact with the enamel of the teeth. The bacteria gradually erodes the enamel and weakens it by draining necessary minerals out of it. This action is called demineralization and, while the mouth normally fixes the vulnerable enamel via a process called remineralization, the natural process can become inefficient if the teeth have not been cleaned properly.
Fluoride also works against the harmful acids created by plaque which is very crucial in inhibiting tooth decay. It does this by obstructing some of the most destructive enzymes found in plaque and stops them from making the acid that softens tooth enamel.
How Can I Make Sure I am Getting Enough Fluoride?
The most practical way to guarantee that you are introducing fluoride into your system, and one of the most critical steps in overall oral care, is to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste.
You are also able to ingest fluoride via your diet by consuming foods like yams, taro root, eggs, milk, red meat, cassava, and fish (particularly canned fish). All of these foods include less than 0.1 milligrams of fluoride per serving.
Having a routine dental checkup every six months is also very important, not only will your mouth will be professionally cleaned, but you will receive a concentrated fluoride treatment every time you go.
Your teeth have to be properly maintained if you want to keep your smile both beautiful and functional. The preventative dentistry treatments offered by Curtis L. Chan, DDS in his Del Mar, California office, will help you establish the optimal oral health care routine you need to make sure your teeth remain healthy and strong. For more information on preventative dentistry and your oral health, contact our San Diego, California office at (858) 481-9090 to schedule an appointment.
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