A great way to protect your teeth from cavities is to use fluoride. You can typically find fluoride in your toothpaste, drinking water, or fluoridated mouth rinses. Using fluoride helps guard against cavities and tooth decay. It also helps strengthen developing teeth (which is why dentists usually recommend it for children) and remineralize teeth damaged by tooth decay. Here's what you should know about fluoride treatment and how to use it.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, water, and soil. When the chemical ion fluorine combines with sodium's chemical ion, it creates cavity-fighting fluoride. Then fluoride can be added to toothpaste, mouth rinses, and water systems to help protect teeth.
Why Is Fluoride Important?
Fluoride does some essential work in your mouth.
Your teeth are covered in enamel, a harder substance than bone made of calcium and phosphate. Saliva also contains calcium and phosphate, so it bathes your teeth with these essential minerals that help rebuild compromised tooth enamel from the impact of the foods and beverages you consume.
Your teeth endure the wear and tear of eating and chewing each day, and the constant changes in temperature in your mouth can be hard on tooth enamel. When you consume foods and beverages that contain carbohydrates or sugars like candy, noodles, bread, or chips, for example, the sugar becomes the fuel that feeds the bacteria that destroy tooth enamel. This starts the process of enamel erosion that can eventually result in tooth decay and cavities (the holes left by tooth decay).
Saliva disrupts the process of enamel breakdown, adding calcium and phosphate back to your enamel. When fluoride combines with calcium and phosphate, it forms fluorapatite, which is resistant to decay and helps to protect your teeth. This is how fluoride does its tooth-saving work!
Where Can I Find Fluoride?
There are several ways to use fluoride to protect your smile. First, you can use an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste to receive a small daily dose of the protective mineral. Brushing twice a day also removes the plaque and bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay.
You may also find fluoride in your city's tap water. In which case, you can drink it and receive added protection for your smile.
Your hygienist can also apply a dental fluoride treatment as a gel, varnish, or foam after your routine teeth cleaning, which you should have every six months.
The Benefits of Preventive Dental Care
Fluoride plays an integral role in preventive dental care. Bi-annual teeth cleanings and checkups are critical to maintaining your dental health and overall well-being.
Your dental hygienist will remove the excess plaque buildup from your teeth that you might've missed at home during your teeth cleaning. Your dental hygienist is also an excellent resource for recommending products like fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse that can help enhance your home care routine and protect against problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
Your Fredericksburg dentist will screen you for early signs of tooth decay or gum disease during your examination so that you can treat these concerns as early as possible. Early detection and treatment of these problems saves you time in the dental chair and protects you from spending money on more complex treatment procedures.
Dental Health and Overall Health Are Connected
Over the years, science has established a clear connection between periodontal health and our overall wellbeing. It's become clear that the bacteria that cause gum disease, an infection of the soft tissues and bone surrounding your teeth, and the bacteria that cause the inflammation responsible for non-dental systemic concerns are the same. Some of these chronic concerns are:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Complications During Pregnancy
Preventive dental care and fluoride treatments help protect your health. The bottom line is that patients who suffer from gum disease have a higher chance of developing these other concerns and vice versa. When you protect your dental health with general dentistry in Fredericksburg, VA, the results are clear, and we know that you are also guarding your overall health and well-being.
Schedule Your Next Dental Appointment in Fredericksburg, VA
Blue Bird Dentistry delivers exceptional dental care to patients in Fredericksburg. Don't wait to book an appointment if it's time for your next teeth cleaning and checkup. Protect your health by contacting your dental office in Fredericksburg today at (540) 373-1641.