As we’ve mentioned before, maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is important not only for your dental health but your overall health as well. One powerful weapon in the fight against bacteria and plaque is fluoride.
Fluoride, which can come in many forms of oral hygiene products, will help keep your teeth and gums healthy and protected. Thus, helping you avoid unnecessary trips to the dentist’s office for problems that can be prevented.
In this article, we’ll break down exactly what is fluoride, the benefits of fluoride for your teeth, and ways to work it into your routine.
So, What Is Fluoride?
You may have already heard that fluoride is effective in helping keep your teeth clean, but do you know exactly what it is? The 13th most abundant mineral on earth, Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in your bones, teeth, water (especially in the U.S.), soil, plants, and even some foods.
In your teeth, Fluoride is one of the several minerals that make up the outer enamel layer, helping to keep your teeth strong and protect them from cavities and decay. So, isolated forms of fluoride can be used to further strengthen the enamel and supplement what may have been lost from the teeth over time (demineralization).
Tooth decay has significantly reduced over the last several decades. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the increased use of fluoride is one of the main reasons for that happening. This mineral fights against the things that attack the enamel on your teeth and cause tooth decay, like sugar and plaque.
Fluoride is available in two varieties: topical and systemic. Topical fluoride products are applied directly to your teeth. These can include fluoride treatments at your dentist’s office as well as over-the-counter fluoride products like toothpaste and mouthwash. Alternatively, systemic forms of fluoride are things that are ingested as part of your diet as a supplement (ie. fluoridated water).
Either variety works to supplement the minerals in your tooth enamel and further strengthen your teeth.
Powerful Benefits of Fluoride
This mineral provides powerful protection for your teeth, keeping them healthy and helping to promote good overall oral hygiene. The specific benefits of fluoride for your teeth include:
#1 – Remineralizes Tooth Enamel
Acid is created on your teeth by things like sugar, bacteria, and plaque, which causes the enamel layer to lose important minerals (demineralization). Demineralization is what can cause white spots and decay on your teeth. Fluoride works to speed up the redepositing of important minerals in your tooth enamel (remineralization). This further strengthens and protects your teeth.
#2 – Provides Antibacterial Protection
Fluoride acts as a shield over your tooth enamel. It can actually exert antibacterial properties that prevent harmful bacteria and plaque from building up. This helps prevent harmful acids from attacking your teeth.
#3 – Prevents Further Tooth Decay
Not only does fluoride help remineralize your teeth but it inhibits further demineralization and decalcification that lead to tooth decay. It builds up a stronger outer surface on your teeth, which prevents the occurrence of cavities and can stop early decay from penetrating deeper into the tooth. As Fluoride works to strengthen your teeth, it can even reverse the early stages of tooth decay.
#4 – Reduces the Number of Dentist Visits & Extent of Treatments
By working fluoride into your dental hygiene routine, you’ll be able to keep your teeth and gums much healthier and reduce the number of dentist visits you’ll need. This will also reduce the extent of cleanings and other dental treatments you’ll need. For example, usually, people who utilize fluoride rarely have to have intensive deep teeth cleanings done. Less dental visits will also mean less money spent on treatments.
How To Work Fluoride Into Your Dental Care Routine
There are a variety of different ways to work more fluoride into your dental hygiene routine to help provide your teeth the extra protection they need. These include:
- Topical varnish or foam: These are applied by your dentist in just a few minutes and have the highest concentration of fluoride. Depending on the current health of your teeth and your dental hygiene habits, these in-office treatments can be recommended every 3, 6, or 12 months.
- Prescription topical fluoride products: There are a variety of different prescription fluoride products available from your dentist’s office including mouthwash, toothpaste, gel, or antibacterial rinse. Depending on your oral health, you may be prescribed some of these at-home products to use between teeth cleanings.
- Over-the-counter dental products with fluoride: You can also get over-the-counter fluoride mouthwashes and toothpaste at many of your local stores. Remember, these products will not have as high a concentration of fluoride as the prescription products from your dentist. For over-the-counter fluoride products, make sure to check for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval. This indicates that the product has met the ADA’s criteria for effectiveness and safety and has been carefully examined.
- Fluoride supplements: Fluoride also comes in liquid or tablet form as a supplement. These are prescribed by your dentist, primary care physician, or pediatrician.
Depending on your oral health and current oral hygiene habits, your dentist can help determine which type of fluoride product might be the best fit to work into your routine.
Boost Your Oral Health With Fluoride
As you can see, Fluoride will give your teeth powerful protection to fight against decay while helping to keep your teeth and gums healthy. That’s why here at Radomile Family Dental Care, we recommend working fluoride into your oral hygiene regimen. We can help you pinpoint which form of fluoride may be best for your teeth and how often it should be used. Start boosting your oral health with fluoride today!
Don’t hesitate to contact our office today if you have questions about fluoride, want more info on the benefits of fluoride, or are interested in learning more about how our dental team can help you achieve the beautiful smile you want. We’re here to help!