When it comes to achieving a healthy smile, brushing and flossing are only a few ways to keep your teeth looking and feeling great. An important key to dental health is strengthening the outer enamel layers on the teeth, which helps prevent cavities. Fluoride plays an integral role in this process. You’ve likely seen the ingredient advertised in oral hygiene products recommended by your dentist, and the mineral is even found in your local water supply. The following guide outlines more about fluoride and its benefits.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral found in rocks, air, and soil, as well as your teeth. It became a staple in dental care in the 1930s when it was discovered that fluorinated water strengthened teeth and reduced a person’s chances of developing cavities. As a result, many municipalities infuse local water supplies with the mineral.
Decay-causing bacteria are constantly eroding the enamel layers on the teeth. Each tooth must be rebuilt to prevent cavities, and fluoride is one of the building blocks. Along with calcium and phosphorus, the mineral helps refortifies enamel.
What Are the Benefits?
When you use fluoride to strengthen your teeth, you’re primarily preventing—and sometimes even reversing—the effects of tooth decay. Cavities are a common issue, and they form when decay-causing bacteria weaken a tooth's interior, allowing germs and contaminants to infect the interior root canals. This results in a painful infection that requires more extensive care from a dentist. Over time, weakened teeth may need to be extracted, which is why proper dental care is so important.
Children who regularly use fluorinated oral hygiene products often develop teeth with shallower grooves in them. This helps prevent plaque and tartar buildup as a person ages. When the material can be easily washed away, it reduces the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Ask your dentist about American Dental Association-approved oral care products that contain fluoride. These often range from toothpastes and mouthwashes to supplements. If you have naturally weak enamel, they may even prescribe a specialty mouthwash to strengthen your teeth.
If you’re overdue for a dental exam, reach out to the office of Craig A. Spletzer, DDS, in Fairfield, OH. This dentist maintains a welcoming atmosphere and has been serving patients of all ages since 1990. Dr. Spletzer offers a variety of advanced services, including root canal therapy, orthodontic care, teeth whitening, dental implants, and veneers. Learn more about this practice online, or call (513) 860-1133 to schedule a teeth cleaning appointment.