Your dentist may recommend that you use a fluoride-rich toothpaste and mouthwash, and also administer fluoride treatments during your dental cleaning/check up. Fluoride plays an important role in dentistry because it gives our teeth an added layer of protection.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in fresh and salt water, in the soil throughout the earth’s crust, and in certain foods like eggs, vegetables and grains. However, the levels of fluoride in those foods is very low yet still beneficial. Fluoride is safe for human consumption and beloved by dentists.
Why do dentists use fluoride?
People of all ages can benefit from fluoride because of the positive effect it has on our teeth. When we’re toddlers, before our teeth erupt through our gums, the fluoride ingested from foods and beverages helps lay the foundation for our future teeth. Then, when our teeth come in, fluoride helps keep our enamel strong. Enamel is the hard outer layer that protects our teeth.
Fluoride fights tooth decay
Another reason dentists use fluoride is because it can prevent tooth decay. Furthermore, fluoride can also reverse the effects of existing tooth decay. For instance, fluoride makes our teeth stronger which makes them more resistant to tooth decay and cavities. If you have early tooth decay, using fluoride canhelp undo the effects by strengthening the weakened tooth and encouraging remineralization.
The long-lasting benefits of fluoride
The effects of fluoride last long after we brush with a fluoridated toothpaste. The fluoride in the toothpaste that you’ve previously applied forms a barrier across your teeth. This barrier works to keep bacteria away and prevent cavities. Plus, when we eat foods rich in fluoride or drink fluoridated water (which is most water in Canada because it naturally occurs or is added after), the fluoride mixes with our saliva, further strengthening the toothpaste’s barrier.
Professional fluoride treatments
When you visit your dentist for a professional dental cleaning, they can apply fluoride directly to your teeth. This fluoride application uses a varnish painted directly onto the teeth, a gel or foam placed in trays that fit over your teeth, or it may be in the form of a rinse. You should also ask your dentist which fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash you should be using.
At Discovery Dental, we offer fluoride treatments as part of our professional dental cleaning services. Please contact us at 289-624-1809 for more information and to book your next appointment.