Many oral health products like toothpaste and mouthwash contain added fluoride. It’s also often added to public water supplies because of its positive effects on oral health. Dr. Brent Engelberg of AH Smiles in Arlington Heights, IL is a Chicago area dentist who understands that the maintenance and care of your smile is an important part of your overall healthcare and well-being.. We consider it a privilege to be a partner to our patients in this endeavor. To learn more about how fluoride strengthens teeth and how you can benefit from its effects, read on.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Fluoride has chemical properties that enable it to strengthen tooth enamel. The enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth that protects the sensitive tissues inside. When the enamel is weakened by tooth decay, cavities — small holes in the enamel — develop. These cavities make your teeth vulnerable to further decay and infections that can spread to other areas of the body. Fluoride is often called “nature’s cavity fighter” because of its remarkable ability to strengthen teeth and restore weakened enamel.
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in all water sources. Our bodies cannot make fluoride and can only get it from outside sources such as drinking water or topical fluoride sources like toothpaste or mouthwash.
When the body absorbs fluoride, it is used to reinforce the tooth enamel. Adding fluoride-infused products to your regimen can help reverse the early stages of tooth decay by helping the teeth replace calcium and phosphorus that make the enamel so hard. Minerals present during this process, called remineralization, need fluoride present to allow the enamel to absorb them to keep it strong.
Why Kids May Need Fluoride Treatments
In children, fluoride works beneath the gum line before teeth have erupted to ensure these teeth develop properly. As children are still learning good oral hygiene, their dentist may recommend a topical treatment such as an at-home gel or an in-office fluoride varnish to ensure they are receiving the maximum benefits of fluoride.
Keep Enamel Strong At All Ages
Adults need fluoride to remineralize their tooth enamel, too. Many public water supplies have fluoride added to them, and most toothpaste and mouthwash have added fluoride. Combining topical treatments with consuming fluoride in water and in dental hygiene products helps keep teeth strong and provides large scale savings in dental care across communities.
Don’t forget to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing at least twice daily or after meals, flossing at least once daily and scheduling routine examinations with your dentist. Fluoride treatments are just one of the many ways you can keep your teeth healthy for the rest of your life. If you’re in the Chicago area, call AH Smiles at (847) 230-9703 to schedule your exam with Dr. Engelberg or schedule with us online.