Fluoride is crucial for smiles of all ages. The mineral strengthens tooth enamel to protect it against cavities — and for its significant oral health benefits, your dentist in Fort Smith wants to ensure all our patients are getting enough fluoride every day. But why is fluoride so important? And how can you be sure your teeth are benefitting from this mineral? Don’t go anywhere, because Dr. Gilbert Lopez is in with everything you need to know about fluoride in this week’s blog post.
Fluoride Remineralizes Tooth Enamel
Teeth are constantly going through two processes: demineralization and remineralization. Acids and bacteria weaken (demineralize) enamel, but the nutrients in what you eat strengthen (remineralize) it once again. In a healthy mouth, the two processes balance each other out. But if you eat a lot of sugar or do not maintain solid oral hygiene habits, your tooth enamel may grow weak due to increased demineralization. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, and especially fluoride play a big role in remineralizing the tooth enamel to protect your smile against cavities and infection.
Sometimes, fluoride can help to strengthen a weak spot in the tooth enamel to keep you from getting a cavity. If you visit your dentist regularly, we will be able to spot these early areas of decay — and we can act quickly with a topical fluoride treatment to reverse cavities and prevent the need for drilling at all.
How To Get More Fluoride
Fluoride is present in tap water sources throughout the United States, including here in Fort Smith and surrounding areas. Water fluoridation has drawn some criticism over the years, but research shows it has also decreased the occurrence of cavities — especially for children, who are at the greatest risk of tooth decay between ages 6 and 14.
If you and your family drink well water or bottled water, you are not getting the full benefits of fluoride in your diet. It is especially important to brush with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Any formula that is approved by the FDA will have the mineral. It may be a good idea to add a fluoride mouthrinse, too. Talk to your dentist about the need for fluoride supplements; do not start one without a professional’s advice.
Are You Cavity Prone?
Everyone can benefit from regular exposure to fluoride, but it’s especially important for people who are at a higher risk of cavities. If any of the following are true about you, we advise you to talk to your dentist to make doubly sure you are getting enough fluoride.
Risk factors for cavities include:
- Eating a high sugar diet
- Insufficient oral hygiene
- Frequent occurrence of cavities (like one a year)
- Age (young children and older adults)
Questions? Get In Touch With Us Today
Do you have questions about fluoride exposure for you and your family? To discuss this preventive measure, or to schedule an appointment for a checkup, cleaning, and fluoride treatment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at New Smile Dental. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!