What You Should Know About Fluoride and How It Helps Your Smile

Did you know that fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s found in all water sources, including the ocean? Yup, this mineral is literally found everywhere, and it can help brighten your smile too!

Research has shown that fluoride is the leading protector for you and your children’s teeth. Fluoride not only helps reduce cavities in adults and children, but it also acts as a shield and helps repair teeth that may have been damaged by tooth decay.

Understanding How Fluoride Helps Protect Your Teeth

With each meal you eat, it’s inevitable that tiny food particles will be left behind. These particles then break down into carbohydrates and sugars, which then break down into cavity causing acids. Acids are the number one source for tooth enamel breakdown – a process called demineralization. When this occurs, your teeth may become weaker and may increase your risk for tooth decay. This is where fluoride comes to the rescue!

Fluoride is absorbed in your tooth enamel and replenishes lost calcium and phosphorous which keep your teeth health and strong.

How Can I Ensure I’m Getting Enough Fluoride?

Fluoride intake can happen from different sources, including water, toothpaste, and naturally occurring fluoride in your body. However, the best way to ensure you’re getting enough fluoride is by brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste – especially after meals and before bedtime!

Bottled Water and Fluoride

If most of your water intake comes from bottled water, you may not be getting enough fluoride. Fluoride levels vary depending on the brand of bottled water you purchase, so be sure to check for levels of fluoride. The optimal level of fluoride should be roughly 0.7-1.2 part per million.

Is Fluoride Safe for Babies?

While we are all taking steps to reducing the amount of tooth decay conditions found in patients each year, it is still one of the most chronic health conditions affecting children in the United States. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), roughly 20 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one cavity that needs treatment. And these percentages increase for low-income families.

These figures illustrate just how important it is for parents to understand the benefits of fluoride, and how fluoride intake for babies can ensure your child has a bright, healthy smile.

“As soon as you see your baby’s first tooth appear, it’s time to start brushing their teeth with a fluoride toothpaste”, says Dr. Irina Kellerman-Volk, a dentist in Port Washington, NY. “Use a small amount of toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice.”

Fluoride Deficiency and Signs

Tooth decay is a red flag for a fluoride deficiency. Bacteria found in plaque that collects on teeth uses sugars and carbohydrates to produce acids. These acids, in turn, wear away tooth enamel.  The immediate concern with oral care is tooth decay. Rotting, decaying teeth can be associated with plaque development which can be related to gum disease. Since gum disease often goes undiagnosed, a person’s overall health can be deteriorating without their knowledge. The bacteria that accumulates in the mouth as a direct result of gum disease can enter the bloodstream and lead to clogged arteries, heart disease and strokes.

Fluoride: Our Source to a Health Smile

We all want a bright, beautiful smile. Fluoride will help protect our teeth and bring us one step closer to that goal. Have questions about fluoride and your overall health, check with your local dentist or physician for more information.