You may have heard about fluoride from your dentist or seen it advertised on products at the store like toothpaste and mouthwash. Why is it added to dental products? What are its benefits to your teeth? Is it a necessary ingredient in toothpaste? Fluoride can have a big impact on your dental health so let’s talk about fluoride and why it’s important.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Fluoride is a mineral that is found in many foods and naturally occurs in some water sources as well. A man named Dr. Frederick McKay began to study its effects on children’s teeth because of the low rate of cavities in areas where high levels of fluoride were in the water supply. In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan added fluoride to its water supply. The rate of cavities in children dropped by 60% as a result! It was a huge advancement and the beginning of preventative dentistry.
After this, many cities’ began to add it to their water supplies. Subsequent studies have shown that fluoride can actually help with the remineralization and protection of teeth as well as help reduce tooth sensitivity so it has benefits for people of all ages. Now, it is added to many dental products and recommended by dentists worldwide.
Where Can I Find Fluoride?
Fluoride seems to be everywhere once you start looking for it! It is naturally occurring in foods like spinach, grapes, wine, potatoes, black tea, coffee, shrimp and fruit. It’s added to toothpastes, mouthwashes and floss. Once you realize the benefits of fluoride and why it’s important, it’s vital to ensure that you and your family are getting enough.
If you’re at risk for cavities, suffer from sensitive teeth or simply want to prevent problems in the future, you can talk with your dentist about fluoride treatments. Fluoride varnishes or sealants are much more concentrated than other sources of fluoride and can help give your teeth a great head start with meeting their fluoride needs.
Fluoride treatments are usually applied to your teeth after a professional dental cleaning by painting them with a clear liquid in your choice of flavoring. Dentists typically recommend doing this every 6 months or after each professional cleaning.
Ask Your Dentist
Too much fluoride is also not helpful, so if you’re unsure whether you or your family members are getting the right amount of fluoride, make an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist can help answer questions you may have about fluoride and why it’s important. They can consult with you about a plan to ensure that each member of your family gets the optimum amount of fluoride tailored to their specific needs to help keep everyone’s teeth healthy, strong and cavity-free.
Call our Palm Desert Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.