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The Oral Health Benefits of Fluoride for Teeth

A toothbrush laying on a towel with fluoride toothpaste on it.

Do you have frequent issues with cavities? If so, your dentist may have recommended a fluoride rinse or to switch to toothpaste with fluoride in it. Dentists often promote fluoride for teeth and general oral health as it offers major benefits in the never-ending fight against bacteria.

Read on to learn more about fluoride and how it helps your teeth stay healthy!

What Is Fluoride and Where Does It Come From?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs in nature. Most water sources, both freshwater and saltwater, already have some amount of fluoride in them already! Natural fluoride in water comes from soils and elements in the environment that erode and are washed into rivers, lakes and springs. Fluoride levels in water range dramatically, depending on the local area.

In addition to finding it in our water, fluoride is often added to dental care products like toothpaste and mouthwash. This type of fluoride can be natural, lab-synthesized or part of compounds that contain fluoride like sodium fluoride or sodium monofluorophosphate.

If your dentist recommends fluoride for your oral health, you’ll likely be recommended a highly concentrated fluoride mouthwash or toothpaste with fluoride.

The Primary Benefits of Fluoride for Teeth

Fluoride is important for teeth for several reasons, all of them about strengthening your teeth against decay. For those prone to cavities, fluoride can help reduce decay and prevent future instances of cavities when included as one part of your oral care routine. Here are some of the ways fluoride for teeth helps you:

#1. Fluoride Protects Teeth Before They Erupt

For children who still haven’t developed their full set of adult teeth, fluoride is already strengthening them! Foods and beverages that contain fluoride add this mineral to your body, which is then used to make your enamel stronger for when they do erupt.

Children are often exposed to a high volume of sugary drinks and foods. This additional protection against decay is important to start their dental care off on the right foot as their permanent teeth begin to erupt.

#2. Fluoride Makes It Harder for Bacteria to Stick

New research suggests that fluoride also makes it harder for bacteria to damage your teeth. Fluoride on your teeth may reduce the ability of bacteria to adhere to them. Most damage from bacteria is done as it grows and hardens into plaque, which takes time.

By making it harder for bacteria to stick to your teeth, you’ll be less likely to develop advanced growths of bacteria and plaque, which means less decay!

#3. Fluoride Will Remineralize Your Teeth

Tooth enamel is your shield against cavities and bacterial decay. Unfortunately, enamel is worn away over time. One benefit of fluoride for teeth is the remineralization it can provide. As you brush your teeth or rinse with fluoride-enhanced toothpastes and liquids, the fluoride in them directly attaches to your teeth and protects your enamel.

#4. Fluoride in Saliva Provides Constant Protection

Saliva, like enamel, is an important part of your body’s natural defense against bacteria. While enamel forms the “wall” for your teeth, saliva naturally cleans debris and bacteria away throughout the day. When you have fluoride in your system, it becomes part of your saliva!

Fluoride in your saliva will provide the same benefits of as fluoride in rinses, just not necessarily to the same degree. However, the constant protection from saliva with additional fluoride means your teeth will be better at fighting off bacteria.

Is Fluoride Added to Water for Oral Health?

Yes! Because the amount of fluoride in natural water supplies varies so dramatically, many municipalities track fluoride levels in their water and adjust it accordingly. Only a small amount of fluoride is added to water when the levels are exceptionally low.

This is done due to extensive research that shows a systematic decrease in cavities in areas where water supplies have fluoride. By ensuring that your public water has fluoride in it, you’ll help protect your teeth every time you enjoy a glass of water.

Fluoride levels in public water are completely safe. Even when added to water, fluoride is kept below one part per million, or 1 ppm. Naturally occurring fluoride in water can range from below .3 ppm to much higher.

Do You Have Dental Health Questions? Schedule an Appointment!

We can help make sure you and your family are brushing correctly. If you’re concerned or just looking for information, the professionals at Walbridge Dental provide complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up an appointment now or call us at 419-836-1033.

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