You may have heard of fluoride as beneficial for your teeth — or even had a fluoride treatment at a dental cleaning. But what is fluoride exactly? Where does it come from? And what does it actually do for your teeth?
Ahead, we’ll answer these questions and more.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride actually comes from fluorine, a common element present in the crust of the earth. It can be found in many locations throughout nature, from rocks and soil to plants, water, and air. When combined with other specific elements, fluorine creates fluoride, a mineral that is known to fight cavities and strengthen tooth enamel.
How Does Fluoride Work?
The enamel on the outer layers of your teeth is made up of phosphate and calcium, and believe it or not, it’s actually stronger than bone. Still, it can be broken down— namely by the particularly strong acids present in certain foods.
If you can go without eating these foods (like candy, bread and pasta, ice cream, chocolate, and other simple carbs), you may not have to deal with the accompanying acids. However, if you do eat these foods, natural bacteria in your mouth will inevitably feed off the carbs and create the acids that can break down tooth enamel. In the end, this can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
There’s good news, though.
If you have fluoride in your saliva (provided from fluoride-fortified water and other foods), it can come to your rescue. Together with the phosphate and calcium already present in your tooth enamel, fluoride will help your teeth create something called fluorapatite. This is amazing at fighting off acids, bacteria, tooth decay, and cavities.
When’s the Last Time You Had a Teeth Cleaning?
Whether or not you’re a good candidate for dental fluoride treatments yourself, remember to make sure you’re getting enough fluoride — either from fortified water or food or from your toothpaste and other dental hygiene products.
Additionally, dental professionals agree that everyone should have their teeth cleaned at least twice per year.
To make a regular appointment for a cleaning at Southern Oaks Dental Care, give us a call at (409) 835-6257 today. For online appointment requests, please go here.