Sometimes, fluoride is referred to as “nature’s cavity fighter.” There are some good reasons behind that thinking, too. It is a mineral compound that can be useful for preventing cavities in both children and adults. It helps to make the enamel or outer surface of the teeth stronger and more resistant to the acid that can lead to tooth decay.
Discovering Fluoride’s Secret
Fluoride was discovered to be beneficial for fighting tooth decay in the 1930s. Researchers found that communities with water that contained natural fluoride didn’t have near the problem with tooth decay as communities without naturally-occurring fluoride in the water. There have been many studies since the early discoveries, and they indicate fluoride to be beneficial for helping prevent tooth decay. Many organizations including the American Dental Association, American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization endorse the addition of fluoride to water supplies because of its protection from cavities and tooth decay.
How does fluoride protect the teeth?
Fluoride starts working in babies before their first teeth erupt. The mineral is consumed by eating foods that contain it and it helps make the tooth’s enamel stronger. This means it is better able to resist tooth decay. Once the teeth erupt and come through the gums, fluoride remineralizes, or rebuilds, tooth enamel in the early stages of tooth decay and can reverse it.
Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste or using other dental products that contain it, provides this topical benefit. It makes the enamel stronger and fights decay. When you eat foods with fluoride, it also provides a topical benefit. The fluoride mixes with saliva and directly affects the teeth by helping rebuild any weakened enamel.
How do I get a fluoride treatment?
Fluoride occurs naturally in some food and water sources. It can also be applied by using toothpaste and mouth rinses that contain it. There are plenty of over the counter products that include fluoride. In some cases, your dentist, Dr. Roberson, can prescribe fluoride tablets or liquids. A fluoride treatment is also available at your dentist in Birmingham, AL. Dr. Roberson offers fluoride treatment for children who are still learning good oral hygiene habits. Fluoride varnish or foam is applied to the teeth during a regular dental visit. Most dentists recommend fluoride treatments every six months right after a professional cleaning.
How much fluoride do I need, and can I get too much?
For most people, obtaining adequate amounts of fluoride via your diet and water intake is not quite enough. How much fluoride each person needs is based on their personal hygiene habits as well as their risk for tooth decay. Maintaining regular oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing daily reduces your risk of tooth decay. Using a fluoride toothpaste is adequate protection for most people. However, if your diet includes consuming lots of sugary foods and acidic drinks you may need more frequent fluoride treatment. It is possible to get too much fluoride. Ask Dr. Roberson how much fluoride you need and what is a healthy amount for you and your family members.
Schedule a Fluoride Treatment with Your Birmingham Dentist
Schedule a visit with Dr. Roberson to discuss fluoride treatment and how often you may need one. He can also help you with your choices of toothpaste and mouth rinse. If you are in the Birmingham, AL area, we can provide you with a thorough exam to see if you are a good candidate for fluoride treatment. Schedule your appointment today!