Fluoride, what is the purpose of having it and why is it so important?
Fluoride is a mineral that is necessary to aid in preventing tooth decay by increasing the tooth’s resistance to acid, bacteria and sugar, especially while permanent teeth are still developing. It is also necessary to aid in remineralization and reversing early tooth decay in both children and adults.
Fluoride can be found in many products, but perhaps the most well known is in a foam that is applied at your dentist office. Although fluoride is generally recommended for most patients every six months, patients with dry mouth, gum disease, frequent cavities and those with braces, who may be more susceptible to cavities, may be candidates for more frequent fluoride applications.
Other sources of fluoride can be found as an additive in city water, naturally occurring in well water, foods, supplements, toothpastes and mouthwashes.
Fluoride is a safe mineral for use at its recommended doses, but can be hazardous at high doses. Ask your dentist if you think your fluoride levels may be above recommended doses. Fluorosis is a tooth defect caused by excess levels of fluoride, usually forming in children under six year old, that can cause white specks or streaks on teeth. Fluorosis is not always noticeable to the naked eye, and if it is, it cannot be removed by your regular continuing care visits. Ask your dentist about ways to make this less noticeable with the use of professional strength whitening agents.
Dental Health and Fluoride Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/fluoride-treatment?page=2