The Benefits of Fluoride
Fluoride is a form of the chemical element fluorine. Fluoride is produced when salts from the element fluorine fuse with minerals in rocks or soil. It is found naturally in soil, water, and foods. It is also manufactured for use in drinking water, mouthwashes, toothpaste, and several chemical products.
Fluoride is typically used in dentistry to fortify enamel, which is the external layer of your teeth, and it helps to prevent cavities. In the United States, there’s also a process called water fluoridation, where fluoride is added in public water to a level recommended for preventing tooth decay.
Benefits of Fluoride
Beneficial for the teeth:
The main usage of Fluoride in the human body is to give strength to the teeth and the enamel. Fluoride hardens the teeth by increasing the mineral composition of the teeth themselves, according to experts.
Reducing Bacterial Overgrowth:
Fluoride has been revealed to prevent the spread of certain bacteria that may perform a role in catalyzing tooth decay. Fluoride, which is an ionic element, lowers the pH level in the mouth, causing the oral environment more acidic, and therefore, less pleasant to bacteria.
There are generally 70 different strains of bacteria in the mouth and most of them take place naturally, and do not harm the person. But some bacteria can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease, to be specific. Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sanguinis, and Porphyromonas gingivalis are the three main strains of oral bacteria that are repressed by fluoride.
Provides strength to the enamel:
During the absorption, refined fluoride is digested in the stomach and the small intestine. Once it enters the bloodstream, fluoride quickly penetrates the mineralized tissue, for instance, the bones and the developing teeth.
Bones contain large amounts of other minerals such as phosphate and calcium, which are recognized as hydroxyapatite crystals. Fluoride has high chemical sensitivity, and the fluoride ion has a small range. These two properties of the fluoride ion enable it to remove a greater amount of hydroxyl (-OH) ions present in the hydroxyapatite crystal, hence creating a mineral known as fluorapatite. At times, these ions penetrate the area inside the hydroxyapatite crystals and expand their crystal mass. Both these reactions cause the toughening of the tooth enamel.
Prevents Gum Disease and Tooth Plaque:
Study reveals that using a toothpaste containing fluoride, particularly when it also contains tin (stannous fluoride), can prevent swelling and bleeding of the gums. It can also prevent the formation of plaque on teeth.
Reduce acid production:
When bacteria in your mouth metabolize carbs and sugar, they produce acids that wear down the minerals in your tooth enamel. Fluoride can decrease acid production by intervening with the process of bacterial enzymes.
Fluoride helps to remineralize your tooth enamel, which can block cavities and reverse early symptoms of dental decay.
Improving Bone Density:
Fluoride that is taken orally, either daily or sporadically, might improve bone mineral density, which is a sign of bone strength. Researchers discovered that drinking fluoridated tap water somewhat increased bone density in women and lessened their risk of spine and hip dislocations.
Fluoride appears to work better for promoting bone density in older women when partnered with hormone replacement treatment. But, it’s debatable whether taking fluoride lessens the risk of weak bones cracking. There are better medicines to use for bone loss for most people.
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride is a mineral found easily in all water sources. Human bodies cannot produce fluoride and can only acquire it from popular fluoride sources such as mouthwash or toothpaste, and external sources like drinking water.
When the body absorbs fluoride, it is absorbed by the tooth enamel. It withdraws the early signs of dental decay by giving the chemical compounds required to support the teeth replenish phosphorus and calcium that strengthen enamel. Minerals in-process throughout this activity, called remineralisation, demand fluoride present to help the enamel absorb them to keep them fortified.
Ways to get the fluoride you need are to:
1. Drinking tap water that has fluoride added to it.
2. Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes.
3. Have a dentist apply fluoride to your teeth directly with gel foam, varnish, or rinse.
4. If your water supply isn’t fluoridated, take a fluoride supplement prescribed by your dentist
Who Benefits The Most?
Every person can benefit from added dental protection, though those who can benefit exceptionally are individuals who:
· eat foods that are high in carbs or sugars
· have poor oral hygiene
· have had braces, bridges, crowns, and other corrective approaches
· often eat between meals
· have a history of cavities or dental decay
· have minimal access to a dentist
Most medical organizations and public health experts around the world recommend that children and adults take some fluoride, to safeguard their teeth from decay.
Recommended Fluoride Toothpaste
The brushing of teeth with fluoride toothpaste begins with the outset of the first tooth (around six months of age). Parents must oversee brushing for children under 7 years of age to prevent overconsumption of toothpaste and ensure sufficient plaque removal. The amount of fluoride contained in toothpaste is measured by “parts per million” fluoride (ppm F) and can be seen on the side of the tube.
Children 3 years old and below: their teeth must be cleaned by a blot of toothpaste carrying a maximum of 500 ppm F.
Children 3-6 years of age: their teeth should be cleaned by a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing 1000 ppm F.
Adults: they should clean their teeth with a fluoride toothpaste containing 1,500 ppm F.
In children, fluoride works beneath the gum line before teeth have come about to ensure they develop well. Their dentist may recommend a topical prescription like an in-office or at-home gel fluoride varnish to make sure that they are maximizing fluoride’s benefits considering children are still learning good oral hygiene.
Now that you understand the value of fluoride for oral health, it’s time to evaluate your dental needs.
Like with any substance, overconsumption or exposure can be fatal. It is essential not to take any fluoride supplements without consulting your dentist. If you’re worried about your fluoride intake or have some questions regarding fluoride, you may call or visit us, and we at Antoine Dental Center will be happy to help in any way we can.