What is Fluoride?
by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 8/30/2019
If you have been to the dentist, then you have more than likely been treated with fluoride in the form of a flavored foam applied to teeth using dental trays.
But what exactly is fluoride, and how does it work?
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that can be found throughout the surface of the Earth in solid, liquid and gas forms. It has proven to be beneficial for both children and adults, helping to strengthen their teeth and prevent tooth decay.
How does fluoride work?
Fluoride can help protect the teeth of children under the age of seven, when they are in the developmental stages for tooth enamel. When applied to their teeth, fluoride works to strengthen the structure of the enamel, making it more resistant to acids as a result. The hardened enamel ensures their teeth are better protected throughout their development.
Fluoride has a similar effect on adults, hardening their existing tooth enamel.
The demineralization and remineralization processes in your mouth can also be impacted by fluoride. Demineralization is the process that takes place when there is a build-up of plaque around your teeth, allowing bacteria to slowly eat away at your enamel.
The natural process for rebuilding weakened enamel is called remineralization. The presence of fluoride helps promote remineralization, replenishing the deposits of calcium and phosphorous in your teeth and ensuring your enamel is stronger and less susceptible to dissolution. This is especially helpful if the natural process has been slowed or rendered ineffective by the lack of proper teeth cleaning or an excess of sugar in your mouth.
Fluoride also has a role to play in preventing tooth decay, working against the destructive acid produced by plaque. It achieves this by blocking some of the most harmful enzymes found in plaque and prevents them from producing the acid responsible for weakening tooth enamel.