Fluoride and Your Teeth: What You Should Know
Fluoride is a mineral that’s found in many foods and water. It’s also produced synthetically and added to drinking water in small amounts. You’ll find fluoride in mouthwashes, toothpaste, and other chemical products.
Using it in moderate amounts is beneficial for your dental health. However, excessive use can be harmful. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the pros and cons of using fluoride. Let’s begin.
The Benefits of Using Fluoride
Research has shown that fluoride is beneficial for dental health in the following ways:
It remineralizes weakened tooth enamel
It reverses early tooth decay
It prevents the growth of harmful oral bacteria
Reduces the loss of minerals from tooth enamel
Every day, the tooth’s enamel layer adds and loses minerals through two processes—remineralization and demineralization. Demineralization occurs when plaque bacteria and sugar form acids that attack the tooth’s enamel layer. The weakened tooth enamel leaves your teeth more prone to bacteria attacks, which causes tooth decay.
Fluoride prevents tooth decay by making it more resistant to acid attacks from sugar and bacteria. Fluoride is also beneficial as it speeds up remineralization and prevents acid production in teeth, thus slowing down the process of demineralization in children and adults.
Following the introduction of fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated water in communities, the presence of decaying teeth in 12-year-old children has dropped significantly between 1990 and 1999.
The Downside of too Much Fluoride
In the US, the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in water is 0.7 parts per million. Here’s what happens if you use too much.
Using too much fluoride while the teeth are still forming under the gums causes dental fluorosis. This causes white spots on the teeth because of hypomineralization, and it’s most likely to affect children under the age of 8 as they still have teeth coming in. Moreover, it also gives the teeth an unpleasant appearance.
It's similar to dental fluorosis, except it involves teeth. While the early symptoms are stiffness and joint pain over time, it can cause ligaments' calcification and change the bone structure. It occurs if one has been exposed to high fluoride levels—often found in drinking water—for a long time.
The key is to use fluoride in moderate amounts and as recommended by your dentist. If you’re in Frisco and want to get a dental checkup, you can reach out to us. From wisdom teeth removal to root canals, we offer all dental services. To make an appointment, reach out to us here, and we’ll schedule you!