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Why Fluoride is Important to Dental Health

Animal, vegetable, or mineral? Your teeth are pretty much all the above, depending on what’s on the menu, but especially mineral. All the time, minerals are added to and removed from the enamel on your teeth through demineralization.

Acids in the sugars of the food you eat attack the enamel all the time. Fortunately, Minerals like fluoride, calcium, and phosphate are redeposited in a process known as remineralization.

But what if you have too much demineralization and not enough remineralization? Then your enamel slowly wears away. Enamel is what protects your tooth, so it leaves the surface open to cavities and decay.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a chemical ion of fluorine, one of the top 20 most common elements in the earth’s crust. It occurs naturally in many foods and water. Fluoride is also present in many toothpastes and mouth rinses designed to promote dental health. When children consume fluoride, it can enter the bloodstream and promote healthy tooth growth. Fluorides can also become part of the saliva and can help remineralize your teeth.

Fluorides can also be applied directly to the teeth through fluoride treatments that can greatly speed up remineralization and improve the health of teeth.

Natural Sources of Fluoride

Fluoride is present in many of the natural foods we eat. Consuming more of these foods are great for teeth. Some of the best sources of natural fluoride include:

  • tea
  • water
  • food cooked in water
  • fish eaten with their bones
  • infant formula

Other Fluoride Applications

You should always brush with a fluoride toothpaste, no matter the age of the child. Fluoride mouth rinses are also recommended. Fluoride supplement tablets can also be taken, especially by children.

How Often Do You Need Fluoride Treatments?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a professional fluoride treatment at your dentist’s office every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on your oral health.

Your Cincinnati dentist can apply topical fluoride treatments to your teeth as a gel, foam or varnish. These treatments are a much higher concentration than what you get in foods, toothpaste, and mouth rinses.

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