There have been a growing number of patients that ask us to explain why fluoride is important in preventing cavities and to the entirety of oral health. So, in this blog we’ll discuss how helpful fluoride is in protecting teeth from cavities and defending the mouth against bacteria, plaque, and gum disease.
Fluoride: An Overview of Oral Support
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral compound found in water from the weathering of rocks and atmospheric emissions. It’s been found to be extremely helpful in in protecting teeth from cavities and supporting good overall oral health. If you’re trying to prevent cavities in adults or children, fluoride can assist in protecting the enamel on the outer surface of your teeth resistant to tooth decay caused by bacteria and acid.
Fluoride for Children
Children benefit greatly from fluoride from an early age because it protects the child’s tooth enamel before the teeth break through the gums. It’s that hard surface on the tooth enamel that prevents tooth decay, and protect a child’s tooth from getting cavities. This is especially true when protecting the teeth from foods and beverages such as sodas or sweets that can rapidly break down the enamel and cause cavities as we’ve seen become more prevalent in children at younger ages.
Once the teeth break through the gums, the fluoride naturally found in water can remineralize the tooth enamel as it is in your system. While these trace amounts of fluoride are beneficial, topical fluoride applied when brushing once the teeth have broken through the gums can better protect the teeth themselves from food and drink, because it mixes with saliva and spreads throughout the mouth for hours after brushing.
In fact, according to a recent study, children can start using fluoride based toothpastes as young as two years old in extremely thin layers on their toothbrush. As they reach the ages of three to six and can properly spit the toothpaste out, children are allowed up to the size of a grain of rice in toothpaste on their toothbrush. This continue to increase with age.
Fluoride in the Water Supply
It’s common in Texas for fluoride to be added to the public water supply (also known as tap water) to support the teeth and prevent tooth decay. Prior to water being found in tap water, cavities were much more prevalent than cavities.
Ask Our Hygienists About Fluoride Treatments
For most patients we recommend that once a year you receive a fluoride treatment during your dental exam and dental cleaning to better protect the enamel on your teeth. These treatments are a key part to having lasting protection against cavities. If you have any questions about getting the proper amount of fluoride or if you want to add a fluoride treatment to your next cleaning, speak to one of our dental hygienists at Pickett Family Dental during your next visit or call us at (817) 431-5514.