When we at Soft Touch Dental talk about protecting your smile, the conversation usually turns to important daily routines like brushing and flossing, along with procedures such as tooth whitening and dental veneers. But it’s also important to consider how big a role something as simple as fluoride can play in your health.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s derived from the element fluorine and can be found in all natural water sources – to some degree. Considering some 70% of the world’s surface is covered by water, that’s a lot of fluoride floating around. While it’s abundant, though, fluoride doesn’t occur in large enough doses in nature to do substantial good for human teeth. These days, however, there is a widespread practice of adding additional fluoride to community water sources to help protect everyone’s teeth.
The health benefits of fluoride
Fluoride is an important part of the health of your teeth. Much of our diet - fruit, juice, soda and more - contains acid that breaks down the enamel of teeth, leading to cavities and other damage. Fluoride works in to reverse that damage and reinforce the enamel in advance of future attacks.
First, fluoride makes the tooth structure stronger so it’s more able to resist the damage acidic foods can cause. It’s the equivalent of putting thicker windows in your home that better keep cold air out in winter.
Second, fluoride also works to undo damage that’s already been done. So where enamel has been weakened, fluoride remineralizes the tooth to make small repairs. In some cases that reverses existing damage and in others it keeps those problem areas from getting worse. Think of it like replacing shingles that have blown off your home’s roof.
How to get your daily dose of fluoride
So how can you get your daily dose of fluoride and keep your teeth healthy? There are two primary delivery methods:
First, topical treatments apply fluoride directly to the teeth. Fluoride is an important part of all toothpastes and mouthwashes, both of which are important parts of your daily oral care routine. So by simply brushing your teeth and using a commercial mouthwash, you’re helping to deliver fluoride directly to the part of your body that needs it most: your teeth. Direct fluoride treatment is also an option for those who are experiencing problems or need extra help. It’s also part of your regular twice-yearly oral examination and cleaning routine.
Second, systemic fluoride ingestion, by way of drinking fluoridated water or taking a fluoride supplement, helps to create a healthy system that promotes good tooth structure. This helps fluoride become part of your body’s internal toolset, making it more prevalent in your saliva, which delivers it to your teeth without you having to do a thing.
It’s important to note that fluoridated water is completely safe for adults, children and babies. Over 3,200 studies in the last several decades have shown time and again that there is no risk associated with drinking water treated with fluoride, which is now the standard in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
Let us help protect your smile!
At Soft Touch Dental, your smile is our business. Whether you’re in need of a routine cleaning, fluoride treatment, dental implants, or anything in between, you’ve come to the right place! Give us a call to find out more about our services today.