We orthodontists make a pretty big deal about fluoride and how good it is for your teeth. Truly, 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 for Teeth Prevents And Repairs Tooth Decay
Bacteria that live 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!
How does fluoride work?
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!
Is Fluoride Bad for You and Your Teeth?
We won’t tell you what is best for your family, but we believe that fluoride is good for your teeth.
Overuse can potentially cause white spots on your teeth. This happens in young children and is usually only a cosmetic issue.
Extreme overuse over a long period of time can cause skeletal fluorosis, which is a disease that affects the bone. If you have safe drinking water in your country, then you are not likely to get skeletal fluorosis.
So is fluoride good for you? Our answer is yes!
Fluoride Is Available In A Variety Of Forms
Fluoride can be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinses. In fact, toothpaste with fluoride has been responsible for a significant drop in cavities since 1960.
Dental offices also offer fluoride application to teeth as a gel, foam or varnish. Getting a fluoride treatment periodically is important because it contains a higher concentration of fluoride.
Fluoride Intake Is Important At All Ages
Exposure to fluoride for teeth 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. Fighting tooth decay is just as important as strengthening developing teeth. Fluoride will help you fight tooth decay 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, your dentist may recommend additional fluoride treatments or supplements.
Ask your orthodontist or dentist 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 or braces, call us or come into one of our Las Vegas orthodontic offices! We would love to hear from you.