Fluoride and How It Helps to Protect Your Teeth
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally and is found in some foods and water supplies, and many kinds of toothpaste and mouth rinses contain fluoride. It is a useful mineral that helps protect your teeth, strengthening your tooth enamel and preventing cavities in Clarington.
How Can Fluoride Protect Teeth?
Each day your tooth enamel goes through multiple processes of demineralization and remineralization every time you consume something starchy, sugary. The bacteria in dental plaque, a sticky biofilm that coats your teeth between brushing and flossing, use leftover food particles as an energy source, producing acid as a byproduct. The acid attacks the tooth enamel, causing demineralization, and this process can also occur when you eat or drink something very acidic. After eating and drinking, your mouth remains more acidic for at least half an hour before gradually pH levels begin to normalize as saliva helps wash away the acids.
When demineralization occurs, it removes some minerals, including calcium and phosphate from the tooth enamel. The process softens your tooth enamel, gradually eroding it. This prompts remineralization, where some of the minerals removed previously are redeposited into the tooth enamel. If not enough minerals like calcium and phosphate are redeposited into the tooth enamel during remineralization, it eventually results in tooth decay.
Fluoride is essential because it helps the process of remineralization, helping to re-harden your tooth enamel and increasing its resistance against tooth decay in Newcastle. Sometimes fluoride can even help to reverse the early signs of tooth decay.
Making Sure You Receive Enough Fluoride
Everyone visiting West Bowmanville Family Dental is assessed carefully for their risk of cavities. Our dentists want to make sure you receive enough fluoride for healthy, strong teeth, and we are especially keen on making sure children receive enough fluoride between the age of six months until age 16. Fluoride is especially important for children under age six because their adult teeth are still developing, and fluoride is incorporated into these teeth. Our dentist can discuss the best toothpaste to use, and we can advise how much toothpaste is needed to thoroughly clean a child’s teeth. While fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse are readily available over-the-counter, these contain low amounts of fluoride. Sometimes a stronger concentration may be recommended to help protect teeth.
If we think more fluoride could be beneficial, our dental office can provide preventive fluoride treatments to help harden teeth. Sometimes tiny lesions or pits in teeth, which are the first signs of tooth decay, can be treated with topical applications of fluoride. Other times, topical applications can be useful for anyone who has recently had one or two cavities despite good oral care.
These treatments can be provided in our dental practice and are applied topically to tooth surfaces. Topical applications may be in the form of a varnish, gel or foam, and treatment is quick, easy and painless.
Is It Possible to Have Too Much Fluoride?
It is possible to have too much fluoride, which can cause dental fluorosis when teeth are exposed to excess fluoride while still developing. Dental fluorosis creates lacy white flecks over tooth surfaces or, sometimes very rarely, brown discolouration. It is a harmless condition and is more likely to happen if someone drinks well water that isn’t monitored for its fluoride content. Public water supplies are monitored closely for their quality and mineral content and are entirely safe to drink. There is no need to worry that you could receive too much fluoride from visiting the dentist in Courtice, as we make sure your family will only receive the amount needed to protect your dental health.