When it comes to vitamins, minerals, and other components of our food, we all have a basic understanding of what is good for us and what we hope to see listed on food labels. Calcium helps build tough bones. Protein helps your muscles stay strong. And Vitamin C will perk you up when the flu starts to hit. But many of us don’t have a true understanding of how or why any of these things do the jobs we know that they are supposed to do. When it comes to our oral health, most of us know to look for fluoride as an ingredient in our toothpaste; but do you know exactly what this mineral is or what it does for your teeth? If you’ve ever been curious about why fluoride is important, read on to learn a little more!
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in any water source on the planet, from lakes and rivers to the widest oceans. When introduced to the mouth or body, fluoride is absorbed by the enamel and helps to strengthen it. Fluoride has the unique ability to help your enamel rebuild, repair, and stay strong and hard by replenishing supplies of phosphorus and calcium. Because fluoride helps to remineralize teeth, it assists in preventing decay by keeping teeth strong and able to retain their structure when faced with plaque and acids.
What is the best way to incorporate fluoride into my life?
The American Dental Association will not issue their stamp of approval on any toothpaste that doesn’t contain fluoride, so looking out for an ADA label is a great place to start. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste will help expose your teeth to this essential mineral and help them to repair any damage that has been inflicted. Additionally, you may want to consider using a fluoride mouthwash for an extra kick of this powerful mineral. Many municipalities across the United States also enhance their tap water supply with fluoride, so the average person is ingesting some on a day-to-day basis. Talking to your dentist is one of the best ways to gauge your fluoride needs, and he or she should be able to recommend the best products for you to use.
Too much of a good thing?
While there are no negative health effects of consuming too much fluoride in the quantities available to us, it is important to note that children under the age of 6 or 7 should have their fluoride intake monitored. While adult teeth are forming, an excess of fluoride in the body can lead to an irreversible cosmetic condition called fluorosis which causes white or brown spots to form on permanent teeth.
If you have questions about how to best incorporate fluoride into your or your child’s oral health routine, give us a call at Olympia Fields Dental Associates to schedule your next appointment today!