The Benefits of Fluoride
Learning what fluoride does for the health of your teeth will increase your knowledge of oral care and help you become more aware of how to identify plaque and prevent it from becoming a cavity.
Plaque's Effect on Tooth Enamel
Tooth enamel is hard yet porous. Plaque on the surface of your teeth can produce acids that seep into the pores (rods) of the enamel and break down its internal structure. This process, called demineralization, can create a weak spot in the tooth that may become a cavity if left untreated.
Decay often begins on biting surfaces, between the teeth, on exposed roots and around existing fillings. Untreated, decay spreads into the tooth, may infect the pulp and can destroy the tooth structure.
The Role of Fluoride
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and increasing the rate of the remineralization process. The new enamel crystals that form are harder, larger and more resistant to acid.
Treating and Preventing Tooth Decay
Common sources of fluoride are fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste and mouth rinse. Inform your dentist if your drinking water is not fluoridated. He or she may recommend that you use high-concentration fluoride gels, mouth rinses, drops or tablets. To help strengthen weak spots and exposed roots, and to help prevent the early stages of tooth decay, brush regularly with a fluoridated toothpaste.
Fluoride plays a key role in the health of your teeth, and now that you know of its importance, you can include it with more regularity to your oral care habits.