Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s actual a form of fluorine. For decades, oral health professionals have recognized the ability of fluoride to improve dental health. But for many years, people didn’t know exactly how fluoride worked, just that it helped prevent cavities. Today, we know more about how fluoride improves oral health and your smile. Here’s what you need to know about this superstar mineral for teeth!
Fluoride Helps Strengthen Your Tooth Enamel
Your tooth enamel is mostly made up of calcium and is the strongest substance in the human body. However, when regularly exposed to the acids and bacteria of what we eat and drink, tooth enamel becomes damaged, and cavities can happen.
Fluoride works with the calcium in your tooth enamel to strengthen calcium ions and prevent tooth enamel from being worn down or damaged . Essentially, fluoride makes your teeth more resistant to decay than they would normally be on their own!
Fluoride Reverses Early Tooth Decay
Fluoride works so well to strengthen tooth enamel that it can actually help reverse early tooth decay . This means that you might not need to get any treatment outside of a fluoride application through your dentist to help strengthen your teeth and reverse the decay.
Tooth decay progresses in stages, so if the decay hasn’t gone through your tooth enamel to the next layer of your teeth, called dentin, it’s possible that a fluoride application may be able to reverse the cavity and heal the decay.
Fluoride Can Work Through Your Saliva to Protect Teeth
When you use fluoride in your toothpaste, it naturally becomes part of your saliva and can strengthen and nourish teeth from decay even after brushing . Your saliva is constantly washing over your teeth, providing them with nutrients to stay strong and protecting them from decay.
This is why when you have dry mouth, bad breath quickly ensues because there’s not enough saliva to balance your oral bacteria. Lack of saliva can also increase your risk for cavities, which is why treating chronic dry mouth is important.
How to Be Sure You’re Getting Enough Fluoride
If you live in a community that has fluoridated water, this means your drinking water has fluoride in it, so simply by drinking water, you can protect your smile. You can also use dental products that have fluoride in them, especially toothpaste.
Most people won’t need a fluoridated mouth rinse or additional fluoride applications, but those who live in areas without fluoridated drinking water should tell their dentist. Your dentist can help you ensure that you’re getting enough fluoride in your oral care products and in your drinking water for a healthy smile!