The Benefits of Fluoride for Strengthening Teeth￼
You’ve undoubtedly heard of fluoride. It’s most commonly referred to as a main ingredient of toothpaste or as an additive in our tap water. It’s public knowledge that it helps with dental hygiene somehow, but how exactly?
Did you know that fluoride treatment was first added to public water supplies back in 1945? Within a few years of observing the marked improvement in dental health, the practice began to spread worldwide.
If you’re curious about the benefits of fluoride and how it became a mainstay of dental health in the modern world, we’ve got you covered here at Bondi Junction Dental Practice! Read on to find out more.
Benefits of Fluoride
The benefits of fluoride were first noticed in people who drank a lot of mineral water. Investigations uncovered that this kind of water contained higher amounts of fluoride. Less tooth decay was only observed in people drinking water containing fluoride, so the answer seemed obvious.
The next steps were clear with the positive effects explained. Further investigations for potential harm before its introduction into municipal water supplies were made. Most sources of water contain trace amounts of fluoride naturally, so the idea was to bolster the fluoride content for the benefit of everyone.
The idea is that when you drink water fortified with extra fluoride, it stays in your mouth during the day. The fluoride that’s mixed with water and saliva is absorbed by dental plaque, acting as a store and release mechanism. Fluoride also bonds with weakened tooth enamel, serving to strengthen and repair the protective coating of your teeth.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in our bones and teeth. It’s released over time by rocks into the water, soil, and air. It helps to minimise the degradation of our teeth and save them from the corrosive actions of the acidic foods we eat.
Our mouths are host to bacterial flora consisting of a microbiome resistant to our immune system. These bacteria are a direct cause of cavities, as they feed on the sugars from the food we eat they secrete an acidic plaque which gradually erodes our protective enamel.
Brushing our teeth with fluoride toothpaste serves to rub away acidic plaque while also repairing some of the damage done with high fluoride content. The pros and cons of fluoride are strengthened teeth at the cost of potential weakening of bones and connective tissue. Fluorosis is a condition where excessive fluoride was absorbed by teeth, usually when excess fluoride is consumed by a very young child or by the mother while still pregnant. When fluorosis is diagnosed, opaque, chalky white patches or bands are seen on teeth, causing mild tooth discolouration. It is important to only use fluoride within the specific directions of a dentist/dental professional and while over the counter toothpastes and mouthwashes are generally safe, it is advised that children under 7 should use fluoride free toothpastes in order to avoid swallowing excessive fluoride or until the child could reliably spit out excess toothpaste.
A Bondi Dentist Smile
Fluoride benefits are undeniable and have served to strengthen teeth for over a century. While fluoride can have some negative effects when taken in high doses for extended periods, this could be said of anything. The dose makes the poison, not the substance itself.
If you’re concerned at all about maintaining the benefits of fluoride and continuing to use fluoride for strong teeth, don’t be! Amounts found in drinking water and toothpaste are strictly regulated and are completely safe.
If you’re curious to find out more or have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at The Bondi Dentists. We’d love to hear from you!