Enamel the outer layer of the crown of a tooth is made of closely packed mineral crystals.
Enamel is a very important part of the tooth, it is a protective layer made up of very dense mineral crystals. Everyday some enamel is lost due to a process called demineralization, this happens when plaque releases a acidic byproduct that harms the teeth. Luckily your body naturally tries to fight back against demineralization and attempts to try to restore this destructive process. This is done through minerals in the saliva, such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate, are deposited back into the enamel.
The reality is that your body probably will not be able to fully combat the effects of demineralization without some help. Too much loss of minerals without enough replacement leads to tooth decay. Fluoride helps in two ways. When children drink fluoride in small doses, it enters the bloodstream and helps to build strong permanent teeth; also fluoride can strengthen teeth from the outside, when it comes into contact with the teeth. When teeth are strengthened with fluoride, it makes it harder for the acids to erode the enamel of the teeth.
Fluoride is all around us, it is in foods and used as a supplement in some drinking water. This helps benefit the tooth development in people younger than 16. Topical fluorides are also available in many dental tooth pastes or rinses. While you are only using the fluoride for a short time, the elevated levels of fluoride levels last for hours after.
When you go to the dentist professional fluoride treatments are given. They are applied as a varnish, foam, or gel. When the dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, it is in a much higher concentration than over-the-counter treatments.
In certain cases special fluoride concentrations are prescribed to children who live in areas where fluoride is not added to the drinking water. Normally these supplements will be given to children between the age of 6 months to 16 years old.
Fluoride supplements should be given if your drinking water is not fluoridated. They are available in liquids and tablets. Your dentist or your pediatrician will need to prescribe them to you.
Is it Harmful
Fluoride is safe if it is used in safe dosages, but in heavy dosages it can be harmful, so it is important to monitor the fluoride levels if you are using it in your home. City water is constantly monitored to maintain save fluoride levels.
You may have heard your dentist talk about the need for fluoride, but have you ever paused to consider exactly what it does? Fluoride is an element that is used to prevent tooth decay by strengthening a person’s teeth. By hardening molars and other teeth, fluoride helps to prevent cavities in adults and children alike. However, it is especially important for children to get enough fluoride because their teeth are still growing and are prone to decay. Fluoride is found naturally in water and some foods, but most people get supplements from products like toothpaste and mouth wash. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that most children up to age 16 may need some time of fluoride supplement.
It’s important to talk to your dentist about your child’s dietary and oral hygiene habits in order to determine a need for extra fluoride. Children who consume large amounts of sugar or have a history of decay are especially at risk. If it is decided that a fluoride supplement is needed, a dentist will use one of several options. He may use water fluoridation or also suggest a topical treatment in the form of a gel or foam. These treatments are applied at the office and are considered to be both safe and effective. Only a small amount of fluoride is needed to make a difference, but the earlier a child’s teeth can be treated, the better. Keep this in mind as you consider asking your dentist about your children’s fluoride needs. A little treatment now could save them many cavities down the road.
Many health experts recommend drinking eight to 10 glasses of water each day. But the type of water you drink may have an impact on your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, more and more Americans are drinking bottled water, which typically does not contain the recommended amount of fluoride, a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay. In most cases, bottled water is purified through a process of reverse osmosis or distillation. While this helps improve the taste, it also removes all the naturally occurring fluoride from the water. The same goes for at-home water purification filters in your fridge or attached to your faucet.
Most tap water, on the other hand, contains fluoride added by the city to help keep its residents healthy. The ADA recommends checking your bottled water packaging for its fluoride content. If it is not shown, contact the company and ask for the exact level. In order to help prevent tooth decay, water should contain at least .7 parts per million of fluoride (1 ppm = 1 mg/L). If you discover that your bottled water does not have enough fluoride, consider your daily routine to determine if you can get it from another source. Do you use purified or tap water when cooking? Do you drink city water at work or school?
If you have concerns, talk to a dentist on your True Care Advantage plan. The dentist will evaluate your teeth and help you decide the correct amount of fluoride needed for optimal oral health.