You may be familiar with fluoride, but do you understand its benefits and how it can help with your oral health? This mineral may be more prevalent than you think. It is an important part of dentistry and can help strengthen your teeth. Without it, you would have a much greater chance of developing cavities and other dental conditions. Your family dentist can help you understand more about this critical mineral and the role it plays in supporting healthy teeth.
What is fluoride?
Many people have heard this word but are not sure of its significance when it comes to oral issues. It is a mineral found in a person’s bones and teeth. It is also naturally in other substances such as water, plants, dirt and rocks. It is even in the air.
How dentists use it?
Anytime a person goes to the store to purchase a tube of toothpaste, it will contain this mineral. It is critical to building healthy teeth. Specifically, it strengthens the enamel of a tooth, which is the first layer. The general dentist may even use it in a mouthwash or rinse to give patients at an annual checkup. If necessary, the dentist may even prescribe a mouthwash with high contents of this mineral to patients who have serious oral health issues. By using products with this mineral, the patient has a lower chance of developing cavities.
How fluoride affects teeth
If a patient eats a lot of sugary foods, the chances are high that their enamel has broken down and that cavities have formed. This mineral can rebuild the weakened enamel and bolster the tooth. Also, this mineral can ward off the development of bacteria in the teeth and gums, which itself can lead to serious infections. Another benefit of this mineral is that it fights tooth decay, even if it has moved into serious stages.
In the water
While this mineral is found naturally in water, it is in such low doses that it will have little effect on a person’s teeth. For this reason, many communities add it to the water supply in order to help people and their dental health. People who are not sure whether the water has additional amounts of this mineral should consult local authorities. The dentist can also provide guidance.
Who needs it?
Everyone can benefit from this mineral. Still, some groups of people need it even more. Between six months and age 16, a person’s teeth go through significant growth and changes. It is important to expose children and teens to fluoride as much as possible during these years. The dentist may recommend a type of toothpaste or mouthwash to help.
Get your fill
If you have concerns about how much fluoride you are getting, talk to your dentist. Make sure you brush at least twice a day and use a mouth rinse if you are prone to cavities. If you are a parent, emphasize to your children the importance of good dental health. Healthy teeth can contribute to overall wellness.
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