Believe it or not, fluoride is already making its way to your teeth, without any extra effort from your side. Fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste, food such as fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs etc., are already your sources of fluoride. Apart from these, there are fluoride treatments for the extra boost.
This fluoride plays an important role in the health of your teeth.
When was fluoride used for the first time?
Somewhere in the early 1900s, fluoride was added to toothpaste. The usefulness of fluoride in reducing the chances of cavity was discovered then.
Importance of fluoride for the body
Enamel is the hardest substance produced by our body. It is made of a mineral called hydroxyapatite, which is a combination of calcium and phosphorous. Now this is the protective layer of your teeth. It protects the tooth from bacteria, acid, and physical stress. But it has its limitations. When we eat and drink, the calcium and phosphorous are lost from the enamel (demineralization). Interestingly, the body cannot make this enamel again. However, the minerals can be replenished through various sources (remineralization).
Fluoride plays an important part in remineralization. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel, thus protecting it from tooth decay.
What is Fluoride Treatment?
Apart from the natural ways of getting fluoride, you can go for a fluoride treatment. This treatment is provided by your dentist. Simply put, fluoride treatment involves applying fluoride to the surface of the teeth. This fluoride concentration is much more than what you would find in your toothpaste. Fluoride can be in the form of a gel, foam or varnish, applied to teeth for a duration that is sufficient for the teeth to absorb the fluoride. This is known as Topical Fluoride Treatment.
How often you should get this treatment done depends on the health of your teeth. Your dentist will recommend the frequency accordingly.
Unknowingly, you are already getting fluoride treatments done at home when you brush your teeth or use mouth washes. They contain fluoride in lesser concentration, but their daily use contributes to strengthening the enamel.
Dentists also recommend fluoride supplements when they feel that the person is susceptible to cavities. Fluoride is also consumed through fluoridated water. As per Center for Disease Control & Prevention, this reduces cavities by 25 % in children and adults. Taking in fluoride is known as Systemic Fluoride Treatment, where fluoride is consumed, and not applied.
Who should get a fluoride treatment?
Fluoride treatment is important for kids who are developing permanent teeth. It will help to strengthen the enamel. The treatment is also important for adults who have weak teeth and are susceptible to caries.
No one should consume fluoride supplements without a prescription. The dosage depends on several factors such as age and oral health. Overdose of fluoride can cause side effects.
We love our food, and for us to enjoy it for the rest of our lives, our teeth must stay. Fluoride is the key to stronger enamel and hence, better oral health.