Any dentist will tell you that fluoride can help your teeth remain healthy, but as a patient, you may not understand how it works. In fact, you may not be doing enough to make sure you're getting the amount of fluoride you need to help your teeth remain healthy. By understanding more about fluoride, you'll know how cavities can develop and how fluoride can prevent them from happening.
Cavities can be created by acids that are left on your teeth that attack the enamel. You may brush twice a day, but acid could still be on your teeth even after doing so. This is because acid will accumulate due to food that is stuck in places that are difficult to clean, such as between your teeth.
A cavity then forms, which is a small hole in the tooth. The hole starts on the tooth's enamel layer, then expands deeper into the tooth. While the enamel is hard, the layers below the enamel are much softer. It is what causes a cavity to spread quickly after it gets past the enamel layer. By not dealing with cavities right away, it can cause decay to spread throughout the tooth. Decay can eventually get to the root, which can require a root canal or removing the tooth.
Fighting Cavities With Fluoride
Fluorides performs a remineralization process on the tooth by absorbing into the tooth's layers. Fluoride being in the tooth with also help summon additional minerals to your tooth that are helpful for repairing parts that are damaged, and assist with remineralization. It will slow down decay and prevent a cavity from forming.
Fluoride also will strengthen teeth, which prevents damage from happening to them in the future. It also assists in slowing down the acid production that happens due to bacteria by not allowing sugars to metabolize.
Unfortunately, some people do not get enough fluoride in their body to help fight off cavities. For example, this can happen if someone has well water in their home without fluoride added to it, or drinking bottled water without fluoride.
You can eat vegetables, fruits, and canned foods that contain fluoride, use a mouthwash or toothpaste that contains fluoride, or even take fluoride supplements.
By understanding the role fluoride takes in cavity prevention, you'll be more likely to take the steps to incorporate it into your oral health. For more information, contact Killar Curt DDS or a similar dental professional.