Most of us are aware that our teeth need fluoride, but do you realize how important it is for optimal oral health and development? This mineral is absolutely essential for our pearly whites!
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in food and water. Every day inside our mouths, minerals are added to and lost from the surface of our teeth.
Why Is Fluoride Important for Teeth?
Acids created from sugary and starchy foods we eat attack the enamel, while minerals from healthy foods are redeposited onto the surfaces of our teeth. Fluoride is one of those helpful minerals redeposited and essential to fighting tooth decay.
Everyone benefits from healthy levels of fluoride, but it’s especially important for children under the age of 6. In early development, fluoride is used to build strong, healthy permanent teeth that can fight off future attacks to their enamel.
How Can I Provide My Body With Enough Fluoride?
There are a variety of ways to ensure you’re taking in a healthy amount of fluoride:
- Foods – Lots of foods contain high levels of fluoride, including pickles, tomatoes, spinach and unsweetened fruit juices.
- Water – Tap water contains appropriate levels of fluoride and is a great option. If you use a home filtration system, check to see whether or not it eliminates fluoride. Many bottled waters are also devoid of this important mineral. You can purchase home test kits to test your water and even purchase fluoridated water.
- Toothpaste – This is the one we are most aware of. It’s important to use a toothpaste with fluoride to boost your tooth enamel. Applying it directly to the surface is proven to be the most effective way to deliver this mineral to your teeth.
- Mouth rinses – There are a variety of rinses available over the counter, while higher concentrated fluoride rinses must be provided by your dentist.
- Dental procedures – These are great, especially for kids, and are applied as a varnish-type substance. These fluoride treatments provide an extra layer of protection for kids’ developing teeth.
- Supplements – If you have diagnoses or symptoms that indicate a need for fluoride supplementation, there are supplements available. Speak to your dentist about these.
Who May Be in Need of Fluoride Supplementation?
There are a number of medical and dental conditions that can put you at risk for low fluoride levels. Some of them include:
- Dry mouth from conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome or as side effects from medications such as antihistamines and high blood pressure medicine
- Gum disease
- History of frequent cavities
- Presence of crowns, bridges or braces
Fluoride can be dangerous at high levels, so speak to your dentist about your intake and individual needs. We can chat at your next appointment, or you can give us a call anytime with questions.