How Fluoride Protects Your Smile

How Fluoride Protects Your Smile

It’s easy to smile when you’re confident in your oral health and your teeth look like sparkly pearls. That’s why you maintain proper oral care, right? Having healthy teeth boosts your confidence and keeps your smile healthy for years to come. Treating your teeth with fluoride should be an integral part of your oral health care regimen. If you have ever wondered why, here are the reasons:



What is fluoride and how does it work?

Believe it or not, fluoride is a natural mineral in the Earth’s crust. Today, people add fluoride to foods, public water supplies and oral care products. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), people refer to fluoride as “nature’s cavity fighter”.

You are aware of tooth decay, right? It is caused by bacteria and sugars that form acid. This acid can slowly lead to decay, but fluoride strengthens and protects the enamel, the hard outer surface responsible for protecting your teeth. In babies, before their primary teeth begin to emerge, fluoride strengthens enamel through the food and beverages that they consume. These natural sources of fluoride are responsible for reinforcing any weakened enamel when the teeth break through the gums.


For whom is fluoride helpful?

Fluoride is helpful for both kids and adults. When you find it in your toothpaste and mouthwash, it is known as topical fluoride. Topical fluoride is important because teeth are constantly demineralizing and remineralizing as the pH balance in our mouth shifts from acidic during meals to basic in between meals. Having that extra fluoride in our saliva provides our teeth with the necessary ions they need to remineralize adequately. Ingestion of fluoride is not as vital in adults as it is in kids, but adults should be cautious when giving only bottled water to their kids because many of these brands are unfluoridated. Ingestion of fluoride is vital to children who do not yet have all of their permanent teeth in order to provide a life-long outer enamel layer that resists decay. Additional ingestion of fluoride in the form of fluoride tablets may be necessary if only drinking unfluoridated water. It’s important to discuss this matter with your dentist in order to make sure that your daily routine has an adequate amount of fluoride.


Can fluoride be bad?

Fluoride was initially discovered in communities that had overly high concentrations of fluoride in the drinking water. These residents had brown and irregularly stained teeth, but the teeth were surprisingly resistant to decay. Whereas the concentration of fluouride in these communities was as high as 13.7 parts per million, today’s communities add fluoride at a rate of less than 1 part per million. Some antifluoridationists cite fluoride as a poisonous mineral, but remember that the human body is full of minerals! The five major minerals in the human body are calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Trace elements that have specific biochemical functions are iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, iodine, and selenium. Any one of these minerals in an unusually high concentration could cause harm to our bodies; the key is striking the right balance.


How is fluoride added to water?

It is most likely that in your community, water companies add fluoride to local water supplies. This is beneficial because it gives you an instant fluoride treatment. Here are some other facts from the ADA based on 350 peer- reviewed fluoride studies:

  • Water with fluoride content helps prevent tooth decay in children and adults.
  • Fluoride is naturally found in groundwater and ocean water. Community water fluoridation merely sets an appropriate fluoride level for fighting tooth decay.
  • Water fluoridation in communities has been proven to be safe and effective for over 70 years. Early studies showed that fluoridated water supplies reduced decay by 60% in children and 35% in adults. More recent studies show general reduction in decay to be between 20-40%.
  • Since 1958, the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department has adjusted the existing natural fluoride level of 0.2 parts per million in the water to the optimal range for dental health of 0.7 parts per million.
  • It is said that for every $1 invested in water fluoridation, $38 is saved in dental costs, giving community residents very good bang for their buck.

Keep that smiling going! Have a happy day!