Everyone has heard of fluoride and knows that it’s good for your teeth. However, what is fluoride exactly and how does it promote dental health? Learn all about this valuable mineral and why nearly every family dentist recommends it.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral found abundantly on Earth’s surface. It can appear as a solid, liquid, or gas. In small doses, it has been shown to prevent tooth decay. How does it do this?
Fluoride has been shown in studies to promote teeth remineralization. Remineralization refers to the teeth’s ability to restore enamel lost through exposure to bacteria, plaque, and tartar.
Fluoride works against the acid produced by plaque, thus making it an important element for preventing periodontal disease. Fluoride acts as a blocker of harmful, acid-producing enzymes.
Young children exposed to fluoride have also been shown to develop more shallow grooves in their teeth. Children unexposed to fluoride exhibited deeper grooves or fissures. This means bigger pits and crevices in the teeth for food particles and bacteria to get lodged into.
Is There a Downside to Fluoride?
There has been concerns about the fluoridation of tap water and whether excess exposure of the mineral has adverse health effects. There are conspiracy theories out there particularly linking fluoride to osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. One Australian study, however, found no strong evidence between the cancer and fluoridated water.
Our conclusion? Fluoride is safe and good for your teeth as well as crowns, fillings, and dental implants.
Be sure to book your next appointment with Silver Firs Dental to meet our dentists. Fluoride in your water or toothpaste alone is often not enough to fight gum disease. Now that you know what fluoride is, hopefully you’ll come to understand it as an important component of your dental health.
Edited by Justin Vorhees
General Dentistry for the Whole Family
Everett, Silver Lake, Mill Creek, Bothell & Snohomish