We’ve all heard the old adage about taking care of the enamel on our teeth, but how exactly do we do that? One of the best ways to look after your enamel is to treat it with fluoride. Today, we’re going to share with you answers to the most common questions about fluoride as well as some easy ways to incorporate fluoride into your regular dental routine.
First, let’s talk about what enamel is.
Enamel is the outer layer of the tooth’s crown and it is made of closely packed mineral crystals. Regardless of your diet, minerals are lost and gained inside the enamel crystals every day. The process of losing minerals is called demineralization and gaining them back is known as remineralization.
How does demineralization work?
The bacteria in the plaque on your teeth start the demineralization process. They love to feed on the sugar and carbs we eat and in the process they create acids. This acid eats away at our tooth enamel, which leads to weak spots that can turn into cavities.
What is remineralization?
Remineralization occurs when the minerals in our saliva (fluoride, calcium, and phosphate) are deposited back into our enamel. If sustained mineral loss occurs without proper mineral replacement, teeth will start to decay.
Why is fluoride beneficial?
Fluoride is great for our teeth in two ways. For one, when children eat or drink fluoride in small doses, it works its way into the bloodstream and becomes part of their developing permanent teeth. When we swallow fluoride, it becomes part of our saliva and can then strengthen teeth from the inside out. If the enamel on our teeth becomes strong, acids are less likely to damage them.
Ways to incorporate fluoride into your dental care
There are many things you can do to increase the amount of fluoride in your dental regimen:
- Fluoride toothpaste: One of the easiest ways to get more fluoride is to use a fluoride toothpaste. Toothpastes that contain fluoride prevent cavities in both adults and children. They will also strengthen weak spots, exposed roots, and prevent the early stages of tooth decay.
- Mouthwash: Rinse with a mouthwash that contains fluoride twice a day. This will support the enamel on your teeth, increase remineralization, and prevent cavities.
- Go to the dentist: See your dentist for routine cleanings as they often come with fluoride treatments.
- Add fluoride to your water: This is a cost-effective way to manage your fluoride intake. If your city doesn’t put fluoride in your water, let your dentist know so he or she can recommend high-level fluoride treatments.
- Speak to your doctor: If your dentist tells you that you have severe enamel loss, you might want to bring it up to your family doctor. Doctors can recommend prescription fluoride supplements that will turn your enamel situation around.
If you have questions about your dental needs, are experiencing tooth pain, or are looking for a new family dentist, be sure to speak with the dental professionals at Joyner Dental Arts. We specialize in personalized dental care for the whole family as well as smile makeovers. Give us a call today.