If you’ve visited a Sleepy Hollow dentist recently, you will probably have noticed they have a chart or poster about the benefits of fluoride. Fluoride is crucial to the oral health of everybody.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in numerous foods and also in water. Fluoride can also be found in your teeth and bones.
Fluoride is predominantly used to prevent tooth decay. Many municipal and town councils will add fluoride to their water supply so that they can prevent the tooth degradation of their citizens.
How Does Fluoride Affect Your Teeth?
Fluoride can also be used to reverse tooth decay. The way fluoride functions to prevent and reverse tooth decay through strengthening the enamel is a very straightforward process.
When you ingest foods and liquids, there can be a buildup of acids resulting in bacteria and sugars in the mouth. The acid causes the teeth to become demineralized over time. When you eat food, minerals such as calcium, phosphate, and fluoride are deposited onto your teeth in a remineralization process.
Excess demineralization and inadequate remineralization are what leads to tooth decay. Fluoride on the tooth’s enamel protects it from decay by making it resistant to the acid that causes demineralization. If used constantly and heavily, it can be used to reverse tooth decay by remineralizing the teeth and offsetting acid production in the mouth.
What Forms Does Fluoride Take?
Fluoride can be found in food and water as stated previously, but it can also be delivered in many other forms.
You will find fluoride in plenty of products that are obtainable over the counter at your local chemist or pharmacy. You will find fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash. You can also find fluoride in gel or varnish foam at the dentist’s office, but it is quite difficult to apply these forms to your teeth on your own. You will also find fluoride supplements that are usually in the form of fluids and tablets.
When is Fluoride Most Needed?
Fluoride is mostly recommended for people between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. These are the formative years and the protection the enamel develops over this time will be present for its entire life. That does not mean that adults do not gain from fluoride use. Strengthening developing teeth is just as crucial as fighting tooth decay.
Certain conditions put people at a greater need for fluoride than others. One of these conditions is gum disease which also increases the chance of tooth decay. If you have a history of having cavities, then you will also benefit from the use of fluoride. You should also use fluoride if you have dry mouth.
Risks of Using Fluoride
You should use fluoride as prescribed by your dentist. The use of fluoride in exceeding amounts can be very dangerous. Too much fluoride can have debilitating effects usually known as fluorosis. Fluorosis can include complete discoloration of teeth which is usually the case for people who drink well water. There are no known adverse effects of fluoride when used in small doses.