Hey there, Monroe! It’s great to see you back seeking more information on how to keep your smile healthy and looking great. We here at Bayou Dental Group certainly realize the power of a confident smile, and we hope you do, too. You must, or else you wouldn’t be reading our helpful blogs focusing on oral health and preventive care.
It is almost impossible to talk about dentistry or oral health without mentioning fluoride. Doctors, dentists, and public health professionals have known of the power of fluoride for decades. Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound that does wonders for your oral health by effectively protecting your teeth from the ravages of tooth decay. In fact, fluoride is so good at fighting tooth decay that it has been added to public water supplies since 1945, when Grand Rapids, MI was the first to start the practice.
Even though you know of the importance of fluoride, do you know what it actually does? And why it is so beneficial to your oral health? Here at Bayou Dental Group, in Monroe, LA, we believe knowing how fluoride helps is important because if you understand its functions, you will be able to take full advantage of its powers.
How Fluoride Protects Your Teeth
Fluoride works to protect your teeth in two ways, by direct contact with your teeth, and by ingestion.
Direct Contact – This typically takes place by brushing your teeth or using a fluoride mouthwash. The fluoride forms a protective film over the surface of your teeth that makes it hard for bacteria to stick to your teeth and form plaque. Eventually, saliva will come wash away the bacteria and neutralize any lingering acid, but until then, the fluoride force field will keep your enamel safe.
Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria known as dental caries converts sugar into acid, and the acid eats away at your your enamel by removing precious minerals. Fluoride, however, disrupts this process and slows the conversion, as a result, saliva has time to form and clear away the bacteria before damage can be done.
Fluoride also promotes a process known as remineralization, in which your body uses calcium and other minerals to repair the damage done to the enamel by bacteria and acid. This means that fluoride not only prevents cavities, it will actually repair small ones.
Ingested Fluoride – When fluoride is ingested in small doses, as in fluoridated tap water, it helps to form strong enamel in developing teeth. That is why it is important for children to get an adequate amount of fluoride. Their teeth are still forming, so if they don’t get enough fluoride, their enamel could be deficient
Sources for Fluoride
Fluoride is fairly easy to come by. Most major brands of toothpaste contain fluoride, as do many mouthwashes. If you are using a toothpaste or mouthwash that does not have fluoride listed as an active ingredient, then you aren’t doing much more than adding some mint to your breath.
Also, don’t forget that public tap water is your best source for fluoride, so if you prefer to drink bottled or distilled water, make sure you are supplementing your fluoride intake by some other means.
Let Us Help
If you have any questions, or simply want to learn more about how fluoride can help you, don’t hesitate to call or stop by our office in Monroe, LA. And don’t forget your regular cleanings and examinations.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment at Bayou Dental Group!