Updated: Jun 5
At Keystone Dental Arts, our hygienists play a critical role in patient care. While patients are in their chair, hygienists not only clean their teeth, but they also spend quality time hearing concerns. Fluoride is a common topic of discussion and they prepared this article as an educational resource to help patients better understand the benefits.
When you visit us, your hygienist will make a pretty big deal about fluoride and how good it is for your teeth. We want you to know, fluoride is the best cavity fighter out there, helping our teeth stay healthy and strong! But how exactly does fluoride do such an awesome job at keeping our mouths cavity-free?
Fluoride Prevents And Repairs Tooth Decay
“Fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health over a lifetime, for both children and adults.” ~ Richard Henry Carmona, America’s Seventeenth Surgeon General
Bacteria that are in plaque produce acids that seep into tooth enamel and break it down. This process of breaking down enamel is what causes cavities over time. Where plaque breaks down the tooth, fluoride builds it up!
Fluoride, a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water, protects teeth from cavity-causing bacteria by making tooth enamel more resistant to bacteria’s acid attacks.
Fluoride also helps repair tooth decay in its early stages by building up the tooth in a process called remineralization. This cavity-fighting mineral even reduces the ability of plaque bacteria to produce acid in the first place!
Fluoride Is Available In A Variety Of Forms
Fluoride can be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses, but getting a fluoride treatment periodically is important because it contains a higher concentration of fluoride. In fact, toothpaste with fluoride has been responsible for a significant drop in cavities since 1960.
We offer fluoride application to teeth as a varnish. This can be especially beneficial for bottled water drinkers, those in a city or town without fluoride added by their municipality, or those with low levels of natural fluoride in their well water.
As of 2014, only 46.6% of people in New Hampshire were served by public water systems that are fluoridated. To see if your town water is fluoridated, visit the CDC website.
Fluoride Intake Is Important At All Ages
Exposure to fluoride can be especially beneficial for infants and children. Between the ages of six months and 16 years, fluoride becomes incorporated into the developing permanent teeth, protecting them from cavity-causing bacteria.
However, adults and children alike need to get enough fluoride to protect their teeth. Just as important as strengthening developing teeth is fighting tooth decay, which fluoride will help you do even after your permanent teeth have come in.
Increased exposure to fluoride can be beneficial for people with certain health conditions. For example, if you have dry mouth, gum disease or a history of frequent cavities, we may recommend additional fluoride treatments or supplements. Ask us if you could benefit from additional fluoride.
Tooth Decay Is Preventable
The take home message is this: fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. If you have any questions about fluoride, call us or come in! We would love to hear from you!
We love our patients and their smiles!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of our qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
For more information about fluoride, we recommend you visit the American Dental Association website.