Dr. Johnson’s Guide To Fluoride

Dr. Johnson’s Guide To Fluoride
Posted on 11/16/2015
This is the image for the news article titled Dr. Johnson’s Guide To Fluoride

Confused ToothYou’ve heard about fluoride before, whether you saw it on a package of toothpaste or a bottle of mouthwash, or you had to rinse with it when you were at the dentist. But what exactly is fluoride? You know that it’s probably important for your teeth (which you would be absolutely correct), but you may be wondering what it actually does for your teeth that makes fluoride so important.

Fluoride: The Miracle Mineral

While the enamel of our teeth is the hardest substance in our body, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be damaged. Just like the rest of our body, our teeth need vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and strong. Unfortunately, minerals are lost from our teeth on a regular basis through a process called demineralization, which is caused by bacteria, plaque, and exposure to certain foods or drinks. If your teeth don’t have enough vitamins and minerals, they become more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay.

On a daily basis, minerals are lost from the enamel of your teeth in a process known as demineralization. These minerals are essential for keeping your teeth strong, so without them, your teeth become more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. This is where fluoride comes into play.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in water and various foods, and can restore the minerals to our teeth to counteract the demineralization, in a process adequately called “re-mineralization”. There’s two main advantages to re-mineralization. First is that it can essentially repair our teeth, allowing to recover from the minerals that were lost. Second, it can actually make our teeth stronger, protecting them from future damage and decay thanks to the presence of those essential vitamins and minerals.

It is possible to be overexposed to fluoride and develop something called “dental fluorosis”, which is basically when there’s an over concentration of those minerals. About 92% of the reported cases of dental fluorosis are very mild, and consists of small white spots appearing on the surface of your teeth. Often, mild cases of fluorosis are not noticeable or on the back of teeth where the spots can’t be seen. In the rare, severe cases, the appearance of the enamel can drastically change, with pits forming on the teeth. With careful use of fluoride, it’s simple to avoid developing fluorosis.

How To Get Fluoride?

Even though fluoride is naturally occurring in water and various foods, the amount of fluoride that we would get from those sources is actually too small to have any sort of re-mineralization effect. This means that we need to turn to a different source in order to get the proper amount of fluoride on a daily basis. Fortunately, a large number of communities are already a part of a long-term public health effort that controls the amount of fluoride in public water supplies, increasing it or decreasing it as necessary so we get the optimum fluoride exposure. At this ideal level of fluoride in our drinking water, our teeth will get the minerals they need to stay healthy, without being at risk for overexposure.     

Even though we’re getting fluoride from our drinking water, the amount is still very small. We can take extra efforts to keep our teeth strong by using the various dental hygiene products that contain fluoride, such as the toothpastes and mouth rinses that you see in the store.

Good Dental Hygiene Is More Than Just Fluoride

Yes, fluoride can help make our teeth stronger and prevent decay, but it alone won’t keep our mouth healthy. Fluoride doesn’t kill clean our mouth of the food particles that build up when we eat, or kill the bacteria that can turn into harmful plaque. The key is a proper and consistent oral hygiene routine that consists of brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash. Also, don’t forget to pay a visit to Dr. Johnson’s office every 6 months to make sure that you smile stays bright and healthy!