Fluoride & Why It's Important
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is natures cavity fighter and occurs naturally in water sources like rivers, lakes and even oceans. It is often added to dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash to help protect your teeth.
How does Fluoride Protect Teeth?
In growing children, fluoride can help to harden the enamel of baby and adult teeth before they emerge. For adults, fluoride hardens the enamel of emerged adult teeth. The process of demineralization and remineralization is your body's natural defense against cavities. During demineralization, your saliva contains natural acids that allow it to break down calcium and phosphorous on your teeth. On the flip side, your saliva will also replenish calcium and phosphorous to harden your teeth, this is called remineralization. When fluoride is present during remineralization, the minerals deposited are harder and help to strengthen your teeth even more.
Fluoride in Drinking Water
Fluoride is often added to drinking water to help reduce the occurrence of cavities and tooth decay. In studies dating as far back as the 1930s, it has been shown that individuals who consumed fluoride in their water were two thirds less likely to have cavities. Since then, studies continue to show the benefits of fluoridated water through decreased tooth decay.
Find out if your water supply contains fluoride here.
What are the benefits of a fluoride toothpaste?
Fluoride toothpaste helps to remove plaque from the teeth, which in turn helps to minimize tooth decay by making enamel stronger.
Appropriate Levels of Fluoride Toothpaste for Children
Children three and under should use no more than a smear size of a grain of rice once teeth become present. Children 3-6 should use no more than a pea size of toothpaste, twice a day. Young children should brush under the guidance of a parent or caregiver to ensure the appropriate amount of toothpaste is used.
Where can I find more information about Fluoride?
American Dental Association's The Superhero That Lives Inside Your Mouth