Fluoride is a popular ingredient in a number of oral hygiene products: both over-the-counter and professional formulations. In today’s article our Elmhurst dentists are going to be sharing some information about why fluoride is so important, and how you can maximize its benefits for your smile.
Get The Facts
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that shows up in rocks, soil, and water. In the world of dentistry, we care about fluoride because it has been shown to strengthen dental enamel, and aid in the re-mineralization process.
Throughout the day and night, your dental enamel is softened through a process called de-mineralization. This occurs when your teeth come into contact with bacteria and acidic substances. Fluoride helps your teeth to re-mineralize after such exposures.
Because fluoride is so important to dental health, we have actually enriched the public water supply in the United States with additional fluoride.
Ways To Get Fluoride
You are likely already getting some of the fluoride you need by drinking tap water and brushing your smile in the morning and at night. Also, most toothpastes that are marketed toward adults contain fluoride; you can always check the packaging to make sure. You’ll also find a number of over-the-counter mouth rinses with fluoride in them.
If your dentist determines that you need to increase your fluoride use, they may recommend that you use a dentist-prescribed topical gel or mouth rinse. These formulations contain more fluoride than over-the-counter options, so they are more potent and effective.
You do want to be careful using fluoridated products for pediatric patients, who are still developing adult teeth. If children ingest too much fluoride in this developmental period, their adult teeth may become pitted or stained. Talk to your dentist about at what age your child can start using products with fluoride.
If you have additional questions about how fluoride affects oral health, or if you’d like to schedule a consultation with our Elmhurst dentists, please feel free to give us a call. You can also use the Contact Us page on our site to submit an inquiry, and we’ll get back to you promptly!