Did you know fluoride is naturally occurring in our environment found widespread in soil, the ocean, rocks, water and small amounts are present in almost all foods.
Furthermore fluoride is normally present in our tooth enamel and our bones.
Fluoride has been used in dentistry for over 60 years to control decay. It has been recognised world-wide as the major factor responsible for the reduction in dental decay. Understanding how it works gives us the power to protect our teeth and to control decay.
Fluoride toughens teeth in 2 major ways.
During the early years of life while teeth are developing (even before teeth appear in the mouth) fluoride can be built into the basic structure of the tooth, causing the tooth to be far more resistant to acid attack from food and drinks. In addition after teeth have arrived in the mouth fluoride will protect and toughen the outer enamel layer of your teeth. “White spot” early decay can even be reversed by fluoride which acts to reduce the acid attack and increase the recovery process in the mouth. Fluoride actually helps to rebuild the dissolved tooth crystals. Decay already evident can also be stopped or slowed instead of progressing into larger cavities.
Fluoride can come from fluoridated mains water supply, toothpaste, fluoride drops or tablets, mouth rinses, and is also naturally occurring in some foods and drinks.
It is interesting to note that initially dental decay in children decreased dramatically with introduction of tap water fluoridation, however the popular trend for drinking bottled water (no fluoride) or tank water has now seen in recent years a huge increase in decay in children’s baby teeth! In addition the popular use of water filters also has had an effect. Carbon filter systems do not remove fluoride whereas osmosis filters do remove fluoride.
Remember it’s never too late for fluoride to improve your teeth!
Even if you have some or lots of dental decay fluoride treatment can stabilise and harden the damaged teeth so that fillings may be smaller. For extensive decay or at-risk teeth, fluoride gel can be applied in custom made trays which fit over your teeth to wear at night.
For most people the greatest benefits will result from the use of low concentration fluoride products however at more frequent intervals.