Feeling confident in your smile is what gets us to show off our pearly whites. But to get your teeth shining bright and white, oral health is necessary. It begins with brushing and flossing every day but also requires fluoride.
That’s what we answer today with the help of experts from the best Dental Clinic in Medavakkam - what is fluoride, and how it helps in oral care?
What’s Fluoride And How Does It Affect Oral Health?
Most people think fluoride is a human-made chemical added to dental care products. It is not. It is a mineral that occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust. It is found not only in soil but also in:
- Many foods
Fun Fact: 99% of your body’s fluoride is stored in teeth and bones!
Besides being present in water that comes out of your taps, fluoride is also found in over-the-counter products like mouthwashes and toothpaste.
What is the use of fluoride in dental health?
Fluoride is mainly used to keep your teeth healthy. It is used to strengthen the outer layer of the teeth – enamel. The chemical mineralises bones and teeth, which is how it keeps them hard.
Research has proven the fluoride present in topical products like toothpaste is essential for fighting tooth decay also. So, another use of fluoride in preventing cavities.
That’s how it got the moniker of ‘nature’s cavity fighter.’ For people who have a lot of cavities, mouthwashes with a higher concentration of fluoride are prescribed to fight them.
When is it a must to intake fluoride?
The time period during which our primary and permanent teeth grow is when you should intake fluoride. So, for children between 6 months to 16 years, fluoride exposure is critical. That said, the chemical has many benefits for adults too.
Top Dental Clinic In Medavakkam Explains The Benefit Of Fluoride
Before we unpack the benefits of fluoride, let’s understand how it works. The process of demineralisation and remineralisation occurs naturally in our mouth.
Demineralisation is when the bacteria present in plaque on the teeth feed on sugar and carbohydrates. This produces acidic salvia, which erodes the enamel. Fluoride helps by adding phosphate and calcium ions to the teeth. This is known as remineralisation, and it makes teeth harder.
In short, fluoride protects the teeth from the damage demineralisation causes. If we leave demineralisation unchecked, it leads to tooth decay and cavities.
How does fluoride help our teeth?
These are the benefits of fluoride:
- It strengthens enamel and protects it from the adverse effect of acid produced by bacteria.
- It reverses early tooth decay and stops cavities by remineralising.
- It creates a film over the teeth and slows down the loss of minerals that leave teeth vulnerable to bacteria’s impact.
In a gist, the main benefit of fluoride is preventing harmful bacteria from flourishing in your mouth. It ensures that bacteria are not able to produce acid by consuming sugar.
How do you get the most benefit out of fluoride?
- One of the best ways to get the most out of fluoride is to have fluoridated water. While most water has some fluoride in it, some places add more. Check if your local water supply does so. If not, then ask your dentist for supplements.
- Toothpaste can offer a low dose of fluoride. It is why you should brush twice daily. You will not only remove any residual sugar on your teeth and plaque but also get the advantages of fluoride!
- For an extra boost of fluoride, swish your mouth with a mouthwash. Some brands have additional fluoride in them. Ask your dentist for a recommendation.
Also Read: Cavities- Busting Myths, Revealing Facts
Is There A Bad Side To Fluoride?
Fluoride has the unique property of fighting tooth decay. That’s why we add it to our tubes of toothpaste and even water supplies. But in recent times, many people have raised concerns about the natural compound. Is it safe? Does it not cause harm when taken in excess?
The answer is simple. Excess of anything is bad. As long as you use fluoride in the right doses, it causes no harm and is very effective. Overuse of the compound can result in dental fluorosis.
The condition often happens in young kids who have been exposed to the compound is large amounts, and for a long time. Typically, dental fluorosis affects children below eight years of age. These are kids who are still growing their permanent teeth.
The condition is visible as white lines or spots on the teeth. In some cases, the enamel has grey or brown discolouration. Besides this, dental fluorosis causes no harm. But having less than pearly white teeth is more than enough!
How to prevent dental fluorosis?
Children tend to swallow toothpaste. It exposes them to more fluoride than necessary. Simply supervise their brushing and make sure they understand that swallowing can cause harm. If these steps don’t work, get help from a dental practitioner. They will advise on the preventive measures you can take with your children. Visit our dental hospital in Gowrivakkam and Medavakkam for premium quality dental services at an affordable cost
To sum up
Fluoride is necessary to keep your teeth healthy and strong. If you are concerned about your intake, get in touch with your dental clinic. The practitioners will prescribe supplements to you. These come in two forms, liquid for young children and tablets for others.
The dentist may also prescribe a gel or mouth rinse for fluoride treatment for those who need a higher fluoride dose to fight cavities. Keep in mind that the compound works only in appropriate amounts. Do not take more than recommended or swallow a mouthwash or toothpaste. That will only cause damage and harm to your oral health!