What Does Fluoride Do to Your Teeth?
You’ve probably heard that fluoride is good for you teeth and, yet, what it does has somehow remained a mystery. It’s actually rather simple: fluoride protects and strengthens your teeth. With all the different foods we eat and beverages we drink, sometimes the enamel of our teeth get a little worn away. Fluoride’s purpose is to both prevent damage to teeth as well as strengthening the enamel that may have already been damaged. It’s actually quite effective. But if you already have a cavity, then the damage is beyond fluoride’s repair in that area. So maybe fluoride has become your teeth’s new best friend, you just need to find it. It’s actually more common than you think.
While some foods can be acidic and dangerous to your pearly whites, others can be helpful. Fluoride is naturally found in some foods like meat, fish and eggs, which will be absorbed into the bloodstream and eventually get into your teeth. Tea leaves also naturally contain fluoride. Some places do fluoridation, which is putting fluoride in the community’s water supply to ensure that everyone in the area is getting a proper amount of fluoride. If all that doesn’t make fluoride available enough, then there are several dental products with fluoride included.
By using dental products containing fluoride, the fluoride can be directly applied to the teeth. Fluoride can be found in mouthwashes, toothpastes, fluoride gels and fluoride supplements. If home treatment doesn’t seem to be enough, then there are also topical fluoride treatments done by dental professionals. These treatments also apply fluoride directly to the teeth, but are much more effective and ensure a better coverage of the teeth.
Everybody needs some fluoride in their lives to ensure they have healthy teeth, but there are some people who may need fluoride more than others. Individuals who are prone to cavities because of their diet, their access to a dentist or for genetic reasons need to be especially diligent in their exposure of fluoride. Also, those who are undergoing some sort of orthodontic treatment, like braces, will benefit greatly from some sort of fluoride treatment. Some orthodontics encourage the use of fluoride since bacteria can collect around the brackets and cause damage to the enamel and leave white marks on your teeth. Using fluoride while wearing braces will protect your teeth from this sort of damage and ensure that your teeth will be straight and beautiful after the brackets are removed.
Fluoride is perfectly safe when used in proper amounts and applied correctly. Of course, too much exposure can be harmful. For example, we try not to swallow toothpaste because we know that consuming it can be bad for us. Little bits here and there are okay, but gulping up a whole tube of toothpaste will make you sick. It’s the same with fluoride: don’t swallow it if you can help it. If you’re not certain how often to apply fluoride or what would the best treatment, go ahead and ask your dentist at your next checkup. They’ll gladly discuss it with you to help you feel comfortable about applying fluoride.