Fluoride is a mineral that is known as nature’s cavity fighter. The mineral is in your bones and teeth and can also be found naturally in water, soil, plants, rocks, and water. It helps protect your teeth by making them more resistant to the acid that causes tooth decay.
How Fluoride Protects Your Teeth
Fluoride helps remineralize tooth enamel, helps reduce tooth decay and prevents the growth of harmful oral bacteria. When you consume sugar and carbohydrates acid is produced which eats away at your tooth enamel and fluoride helps protect the enamel.
When you brush your teeth with a toothpaste that contains fluoride it is applied directly to the surface of your teeth. Additionally, the fluoride you consume from food and drinks mixes with the saliva in your mouth providing even more topical benefits to your tooth enamel.
How to Get the Benefits of Fluoride
There are several ways that you can get fluoride including:
Drink Fluoridated Water
Fluoride has been added to public water supplies for the past 70 years to bring the levels up to the amount that is necessary to prevent tooth decay. Studies have shown that the fluoride in community water systems helps reduce tooth decay in both children and adults by 25 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Almost 75 percent of Americans have community water systems that contain fluoride. If you live in a community where there is not fluoridated water, you can purchase bottled water that contains fluoride.
Use Toothpaste and Mouthwash with Fluoride
Purchase toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride and that carries the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, this will ensure that they contain fluoride. You should brush and rinse twice a day for the best protection.
For children under 3 years old, start brushing their teeth with a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste as soon as their teeth start to come in. For children over 3 years old, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. You should always supervise young children when they are brushing their teeth to make sure they spit out the toothpaste.
Although mouthwash will make their teeth more resistant to decay, children under six years old should not use it unless it is recommended by a dentist, because younger children are more likely to swallow the rinse instead of spitting it out.
Visit Your West Seattle Dentist Regularly
At your regular dental checkups, your dentist will apply fluoride directly to your teeth for additional protection. Contact New Wave Dental Smiles, your West Seattle dentist, to schedule an appointment for your dental care needs or book an appointment online. Our dentist and staff will be able to answer all of your question about the benefits of fluoride.