Getting the facts on Fluoride
You’ve probably heard time and time again about the benefits of fluoride when it comes to protecting the teeth. In fact, when you sip fluoridated water, brush your teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste or mouth rinse, or receive a fluoride treatment from a dental professional – the fluoride remains in the saliva and continues protecting the teeth long after the direct exposure.
But have you ever wondered just how fluoride works to prevent tooth decay and cavity formation? It’s a good question. So, our Toronto dentists are going to get to the bottom of it!
Exposure to fluoride in appropriate doses works to prevent cavities in three different ways:
1. Through promoting tooth remineralization.
Tooth “demineralization” happens when important minerals that make up the tooth’s structure are destroyed through the decay process. Fortunately, there’s a process opposite to that called “remineralization” where minerals are restored back into the tooth enamel. Fluoride actually helps to promote and speed up this enamel-restoring process. What’s not to love about that?
2. Through the creation of a new type of dental mineral.
Our teeth are composed of minerals referred to as “hydroxyapatite” and “carbonated hydrxypatite”. The use of fluoride helps to form a new type of tooth mineral referred to as “fluorapatite” that is actually less susceptible to bacterial acids that lead to cavities (compared to the other mineral forms). Amazing, right?
3. Through inhibiting decay-causing bacteria.
Research shows that when dental plaque deposits contain only 1-5ppm of fluoride (a level that can be achieved using an over the counter toothpaste containing fluoride) it inhibits the metabolism, growth, multiplication and adhesion of the kinds of bacteria that cause tooth decay. (Hovius, 2014).
The benefits of fluoride are quite impressive, wouldn’t you say?! And long as you’re brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste and/or using a mouth rinse containing fluoride daily, you’ll be doing what you can to protect your teeth with this special mineral!