According to studies conducted by the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, an independent group appointed by the CDC, tooth decay among children 4 to 17 years old decreased an average of 29 percent after water fluoridation was instituted.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Dental plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that combines with food and drinks containing sugar or starch. The bacteria uses those foods to produce acids that begin to eat away at the tooth’s hard outer surface, or enamel.
Enamel is made from calcium and phosphate and is stronger than bone. Your saliva is also composed of calcium and phosphate and its function is to bathe your teeth to keep them strong. When you eat sweets, crackers or noodles, the cavity-causing bacteria starts feasting on the carbohydrates in these foods. This produces acids that attack your enamel and causes the calcium and phosphate to be stripped from the tooth enamel, leaving you more vulnerable to decay and cavities.
When your saliva has fluoride in it from your toothpaste or water, it helps to protect your teeth. Once the fluoride is absorbed into your tooth enamel, it joins forces with the calcium and phosphate to create a powerful defense system that helps to prevent cavities from forming in your teeth.
Fluoride protects your teeth from decay in the following ways:
- Aids in remineralization of your teeth
- It hardens your teeth
- Fluoride hinders the kinds of bacteria that cause cavities
Snacking Causes an Acid Attack on Your Teeth
If you snack between meals and drink acidic drinks such as soda, juice, coffee and energy drinks throughout the day, your teeth are frequently exposed to acid. These foods cause the protective enamel to continue to lose minerals. Over time, you may notice a white spot on your tooth where minerals have been lost. This is a sign of early decay, but tooth decay can be stopped or reversed at this point. Enamel can repair itself by using minerals from saliva, and fluoride from toothpaste or other sources, however, if the tooth decay process continues, more minerals are lost. Over time, the enamel is weakened and destroyed, forming a cavity, which is permanent damage that has to be repaired with a filling.
Facts About Fluoride
- Water containing fluoride prevents tooth decay by replacing mineral loss in tooth enamel.
- Fluoride reduces the ability of bacteria in your mouth to make acid.
- Fluoride toothpaste exposes your teeth to its protective quality every time you brush. Your toothpaste should have the American Dental Association’s (ADA) “Seal of Approval”, which indicates that the ADA has reviewed the product and found its fluoride content to be appropriate.
- You’ll get more protective benefits from your fluoride toothpaste if you let it linger in your mouth, so don’t rinse immediately after brushing.
Regular Dental Appointments Are Vital For Your Oral Health
Regular dental check-ups every six months are vital to your oral health and will indicate whether or not your teeth are lacking fluoride or prone to cavities. Dr. Angela S. Evanson, DDS, a general and family dentist in Parker, Colorado is passionate about helping you and your family receive comprehensive care; focusing on prevention, tooth preservation, and awareness of your oral health.
If you’re having trouble with cavities and fluoride intake there are several options Dr. Evanson can use to reinforce the amount of fluoride needed to protect your teeth, such as prescription fluoride toothpaste, in-office fluoride gel treatments, or oral fluoride supplements.
Fluoride makes the difference in targeting tooth plaque and fights cavities. Call for details at (720) 409-0008 or make an appointment online.Leave a reply →