Fluoride is an important mineral for good oral health. It helps prevent cavities by boosting the rate of remineralization and slowing down enamel erosion. The new mineral crystals that form on the tooth crown are larger, denser and better equipped to shield against mouth acid. Plaque breaks down the outer enamel and can seep down into the rods of a tooth, causing internal damage. This demineralization can lead to weakened areas that will eventually form a cavity. Fluoride treatment can help preserve mouth health and ward off tooth decay. Common sources of fluoride include are fluoridated tap water, topical fluoride treatments, toothpaste, and mouthwashes.
Fluoride ToothpasteA good fluoride toothpaste will help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities from forming in adults and children. It reinforces weak areas and exposed roots, and stops early decay in its tracks. To attain the full benefit, brush at least twice daily with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste. Supervise young children when it is time to brush, and remember that kids under six should only use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste.
Water with FluorideFortified tap water is a simple, cost-effective way to protect a community from the ravages of tooth decay.
- If you don’t know if your drinking water contains fluoride, or if you are curious about the exact how much is in your water system, ask your dentist, public works dept. or have your water tested. If not, your dentist may suggest professional fluoride treatments.
- If you have confirmed that your tap water is not fluoridated, you and your loved ones may be given drops or tablets from your dentist for added fluoride protection.
- Treated drinking water is the best substitute for soda and sugary fruit drinks as it protects your oral health and there is no harmful exposure to sugar and corrosive acids.
- Bottled water is better than soft drinks, but it may not contain fluoride.