If you were to ask your teeth to name the one thing they love the most, the answer would probably be fluoride. Unfortunately, however, there are a lot of myths and half-truths about this chemical. As such, it is a good idea for dental patients to learn a little more about it.
Defender of Your Teeth
The next time you squeeze toothpaste on your brush, check the contents of the tube. Chances are that it contains fluoride: A mineral compound that occurs naturally in soil and water.
What makes it a superhero protector for your teeth is its ability to add a layer to your tooth enamel that fights off plaque-causing bacteria. The mineral compound also increases the strength of your milky whites by promoting remineralization. This prevents cavities by repairing early decay formed on the enamel.
How can you get fluoride? Topical vs Systemic Fluorides
Your teeth need fluoride. When you brush, you are increasing fluoride protection through topical application. The mineral is applied, via the toothbrush, on the enamel and is then quickly absorbed by the surface. Mouthwash is another oral hygiene product that contains a healthy amount of fluoride.
Topical fluorides also include foams, gel, and varnishes that are usually administered by dentists. These applications contain a higher concentration of the mineral compound and need to be applied under supervision. They are generally used during a cleaning treatment.
Moving on from topical applications, systemic fluorides are ingested through food, beverage, and supplements. Once the fluoride is absorbed by the digestion tract, the mineral compound is then deposited on the teeth enamel.
One of the most common sources of systemic fluoride in America is tap water. In fact, water fluoridation is a common practice adopted across neighborhoods and communities. This involves boosting the levels of the mineral compound in the water to help prevent tooth decay in adults as well as children. The success of this initiative has made it one of the most effective public health measures in regards to oral hygiene.