Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in our water and many of the foods that we consume. Every day we are awake, minerals are added to and lost from the enamel of our teeth simply by eating and living! One of these minerals, called fluoride, is very important when it comes to defending the teeth from bacteria. The source of the bacteria often comes from the sugar in our diets, and it eats away at the enamel (or outside coating) of our teeth. It’s important we keep the enamel as strong as possible because once it is lost, the body doesn’t regrow it.
Fluoride aids in the prevention of tooth decay by making the enamel of the tooth more resistant to acid and bacteria. Fluoride has also been shown to reverse early tooth decay if applied regularly. Fluoride is routinely given to children under 6 years of age so that the adult teeth come developed with fluoride “built in.” By protecting the teeth using fluoride from the start, we can help the enamel remain as strong as possible.
How Can You Get Fluoride?
The primary way people get their fluoride intake is actually from the foods they eat and the water they drink. The tap water in the US has fluoride in it to better provide access to the mineral for all people, although if you drink bottled or filtered water, the fluoride is likely filtered out. People can also directly apply fluoride to their teeth by using fluoridated toothpaste or a fluorine mouth-rinse. The dosage of fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash is usually minimal so as not to cause any harm to the teeth if overexposure occurs.
Here at Kingstowne Dentistry, our dentists can directly apply fluoride to the teeth using a gel, foam, or varnish technique. These treatments will contain a higher level of fluoride than the amount found in toothpastes and mouth rinses and is optionally put on your teeth at the conclusion of a visit. Varnishes are typically painted on the teeth; foams can be put into a mouth guard and then placed on the teeth, and gels can be painted on or applied via a mouth guard.
Studies Reaffirm Safety of Fluoride
There have been many debates that talk about the safety of fluoride and fluoride toxicity. A recent evaluation of neurotoxicity has shown no link between fluoride exposure and adverse health effects. Public Health of England recently stated that “Water fluoridation is an effective and safe public health measure to reduce the prevalence and severity of dental caries, and reduce dental health inequalities.”
The prevention of dental caries is a major topic in the world today. Being able to prevent cavities throughout the entire community, regardless of income levels, is critical. By having small amounts of fluoride within our water, and having fluoride applications done here at your family dentist, you can potentially avoid future cavities.
If you are interested in getting a fluoride treatment done at our Alexandria dental office, give us a call today!