Lots of oral health products like toothpaste and mouthwash contain fluoride. It’s also often added to public water supplies because of its positive effects on oral health. Dr. Kevin Welinsky is a Towson, MD dentist who understands that the maintenance and care of your smile is an important part of your overall healthcare and well-being and we consider it a privilege to be a partner in this endeavor.
Learn more about how fluoride strengthens teeth and how you can benefit from its effects.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Fluoride has chemical properties that allow it to strengthen tooth enamel. The enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth that protects the sensitive tissues inside, and cavities develop when the enamel is weakened. Fluoride is often called “nature’s cavity fighter” because of its remarkable ability to strengthen teeth and restore weakened enamel.
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in all water sources. Our bodies cannot make fluoride and can only get it from outside sources such as drinking water or topical fluoride sources like toothpaste or mouthwash.
When the body absorbs fluoride, it is absorbed by the tooth enamel. It reverses the early stages of tooth decay by helping the teeth replace calcium and phosphorus that make the enamel hard. Minerals present during this process, called remineralization, need fluoride present to allow the enamel to absorb them to keep it strong.
Why Kids May Need Fluoride Treatments
In children, fluoride works beneath the gum line before teeth have erupted to ensure they develop properly. As children are still learning good oral hygiene, their dentist may recommend a topical treatment such as an at-home gel or an in-office fluoride varnish to ensure they are maximizing fluoride’s benefits.
Keep Enamel Strong At All Ages
Adults need fluoride, too. Many public water supplies have fluoride added to them, and most toothpaste and mouthwash have added fluoride. Combining topical treatments with consuming fluoride keeps teeth strong and provides large scale dental care cost savings across communities.
Don’t forget to schedule your regular dental exams and maintain good oral hygiene. Fluoride treatments are just one of the many ways you can keep your teeth healthy for the rest of your life.