Strengthening Your Teeth With Fluoride
Fluoride is a chemical ion of the element fluorine. It can be found in nature in water, different foods (such as meat, fish, eggs, and tea leaves), and the soil. It can also be found in the minerals fluorite and fluorapatite. Most people think of fluoride as something for toothpaste and other oral health products, but aren’t exactly sure how it works.
How Fluoride Works On Your Teeth
Fluoride both protects our teeth, and rebuilds them.
It protects our teeth from the demineralization process that occurs when acid is present in the mouth. The bacteria naturally found in our mouth combine with sugars and create this acid. Areas of our teeth that may have already been damaged by the acid and erosion process can benefit from fluoride, which will accumulate there and begin strengthening the enamel. This is called “remineralization.”
While fluoride is great at preventing cavities and strengthening our teeth, it can’t do much for us if a cavity has already formed. A filling will be necessary at that point. Preventative use of fluoride, and avoiding cavities, is always the best option.
How To Maximize The Benefits Of Fluoride
Brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste is a big component of keeping our teeth in tip-top shape. It is beneficial to avoid drinking for 30 minutes after brushing so that the benefits of the fluoride aren’t washed away with the water.
A professional application of fluoride at the dentist office is also possible. Our teeth quickly and willingly absorb topical fluoride treatments, which is why this is a common part of a regular dental check-up for children. Fluoride will remain in the mouth for several hours after such a treatment.
People who have a history of cavities, have dental work such as bridges or crowns, or do not receive regular dental care can reap the most benefits from using fluoride. It will help prevent cavities and repair and refresh weakened teeth.