From getting fluoride trays at school when we were young to crazy John Birch Society members saying that fluoride in the water supply was a Communist conspiracy, everyone has heard of fluoride. And most people have an idea that the stuff if good for your teeth.
Well, since we’re all about healthy teeth at EMA Dental, here is some information about just how fluoride protects your teeth and the role it plays in battling tooth decay.
One of your mouth’s minerals
Minerals play a big part in the health of your teeth. Minerals are continually added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Demineralization is the problem. Minerals are lost from a tooth’s enamel layer when acids, formed from the bacteria in plaque and sugars in the mouth, attack the enamel. Fortunately, when you eat foods and drink water, minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate remineralize the teeth. Therein lies the ongoing battle — too much demineralization without remineralization results in tooth decay.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. It helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth enamel more resistant to those acids from bacteria and sugars in the mouth. Fluoride also has the cool effect of reversing early cases of decay. For kids under 6, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth. This makes the teeth resistant to the assault of acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also speeds remineralization and disrupts acid production in the mouth.
Not just for kids
It was thought that only children benefit from fluoride, but new research shows that topical fluoride from toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments are important to help adult teeth fight decay. For children, it’s long been known that children between 6 months and 16 years need fluoride to help build their teeth.
Fluoride treatments at EMA Dental
So, now you know that fluoride is one of your mouth’s best friends. We provide fluoride treatments at EMA Dental to give our patients a more concentrated occasional fluoride application. We apply fluoride topically at each appointment of our younger patients. Call either our Longmeadow or Northhampton offices for your next appointment.