Most of the toothpastes that you use have fluoride in them – ever wondered why?
Fluoride, the 13th most abundant element, is found in the crust of the earth. It is not only a chemical ion of the fluorine element, but it also has oneextra electron that is known to give it a negative charge.
Naturally found in water, soil, foods along with several minerals, such as fluorapatite and fluorite.
Fluoride can also be synthesized in the laboratories and can be commonly added to drinking water, toothpaste, mouthwashes and various renowned chemical products.
According to a study, fluoride decreased the rate of tooth decay by a median rate of around 29%. Another study found out that living in a place which does not have fluoridated water can increase the chance of tooth decay by as much as 32%.
Flouride is said to protect the teeth in mainly two ways –
• It offers protection from demineralization – Acid is produced when the bacteria in the mouth gets combined with the sugars. This acid can not only erode the teeth, but they can also damage them.
It is fluoride who can protect the teeth from demineralization which is caused by the acid.
• It aids in the process of remineralization – If the teeth are already damaged by acid, then the fluoride can accumulate in the demineralized areas and can help to strengthen the enamel. This process is called remineralization.
Fluoride is also found to be extremely helpful in preventing the cavities and making the teeth healthy.
The other benefits of fluoride are as follows.
• Effect of the plaque on the tooth enamel – Even though the tooth enamel is hard, it is porous. It is the plaque on the teeth’s surface which is known to produce acids and which can seep into the enamel’s pores and break down its internal structure. If left untreated, it can create a weak spot that will ultimately turn into a cavity in the long run.
• Decay of the teeth – Tooth decay is often known to begin first on the biting surfaces, that is, in between the teeth, on the exposed roots and in and around existing fillings. If they are left untreated, the decay will spread into the tooth and will infect the pulp which in turn will destroy the structure of the tooth.
Fluoride is also known to prevent the decay of the tooth as it slows the breakdown of the enamel and increasing the rate of the process of the remineralization.
• Treating and preventing the decay of the tooth – The common sources of fluoride are fluoridated drinking water, mouth wash as well as toothpaste. It is best to inform your dentist if your drinking water is not fluoridated and he/she may recommend using gels, mouth washes, drops or tablets that have a high concentration of fluoride.
Fluoride helps you in maintaining your oral hygiene, and a reason you might just want to incorporate it into your daily oral habits.