The Role Fluoride Plays in Preventing Cavities
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From the time we're children, we learn about the importance of proper brushing to prevent cavities. Unfortunately, it's not always enough.

What Causes Cavities?

Cavities are holes in the tooth resulting from acid attacks. They generally start in the enamel and can spread to the softer inner layer of the tooth. Decay also occurs when foods containing carbohydrates become trapped between teeth, failing to be removed with brushing and flossing. Bacteria living in the mouth digest these foods generating acidic byproducts that can eat away at tooth enamel.

How Can I Prevent Cavities

Fluoride helps prevent cavities by slowing the breakdown of enamel and speeding up the remineralization process. The new enamel crystals that form are harder, larger and more resistant to acid. Common fluoride sources are fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste and some mouth rinses. Inform your dentist if your drinking water is not fluoridated. He or she may recommend that you use high - concentration fluoride treatments.

Drinking Water

  • Adding fluoride to your drinking water is one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods of protecting children and adults from tooth decay.
  • Not certain about the fluoride levels in your water system? Ask your dentist.
  • If your water does not contain fluoride, your dentist may recommend prescribing fluoride tablets or drops for you and your family to help protect your teeth from cavities.
  • Fluoridated water is a great substitution for soft drinks as it helps protect your teeth while minimizing the damage done to them through sugar intake at the same time.
  • Bottled water may not include fluoride so while it may seem like the safe thing to do now, think about the fluoride you will be missing from your tap water.

Toothpaste

  • Toothpastes containing fluoride help prevent cavities in both children and adults
  • You should always supervise your children when they’re brushing their teeth
  • Children under the age of 6 should only use a “pea size” dab of toothpaste when it contains fluoride

Mouthwash

  • Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash that contains fluoride is another way to help protect you and your family from cavities
  • There are many brands of mouthwash that now contain fluoride available

Other Ways to Fight Cavities

  • Sealants placed on teeth
  • Sugar-free foods and drinks
  • Daily brushing and flossing (especially after eating)
  • Regular visits to the dentist

To help strengthen weak spots and exposed roots, and prevent the early stages of tooth decay, brush regularly with a fluoridated toothpaste like Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste.