Fluoride is an ingredient found in many dental hygiene products that help to clean and protect your teeth. However, in recent years, many companies have started making products that do not contain fluoride, largely due to misconceptions about what it is and what it does for our oral health. In today’s blog, your Rancho Cucamonga, CA, dentist will give you the rundown on fluoride by answering the questions you may very well be wondering.
Questions and Answers
Question: What is fluoride?
Answer: Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally occurring. It is found in many areas of nature including most water sources such as rivers, lakes, and oceans, as well as in soil and rocks. It is a chemical ion of the element fluorine; specifically, it is created when a positively charged ion like sodium meets the negatively-charged fluorine.
Question: I heard fluoride is added to municipal water sources, is that true?
Answer: Yes and no. Fluoride already exists naturally in water. So, while about 75% of municipal water sources do have added fluoride, it is only to boost the already existing levels to the levels recommended by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) to help prevent cavities. This has worked so well for about the past 70 years that cities that have access to fluoridated water sources have around 25% fewer cavities in children and adults than they would otherwise.
Question: How does fluoride in water help prevent cavities?
Answer: Fluoride protects teeth from cavities and tooth decay by making the hard outside of your teeth, the enamel, stronger. This makes it harder for decay to break through your enamel, keeping the inner parts of your teeth guarded against cavities. If decay has begun, fluoride can actually reverse the the beginnings of it through a process called remineralization, which is when the fluoride bonds with your teeth to build up what has started to decay.
Question: Does fluoride really need to be in my toothpaste?
Answer: In short, yes. The fluoride that you’ve taken in from food and water that has become a part of your saliva works best when it can combine with fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash. You can think of it as being more fully protected, like wearing both knee pads and elbow pads when you’re roller skating. So, the American Dental Association suggests brushing with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day.
Question: Isn’t fluoride dangerous or harmful?
Answer: As long as you aren’t eating huge amounts of it for fun, no. The amounts present in fluoridated water, toothpaste, and mouthwash are not enough to cause you any harm- but we don’t recommend chugging a bottle of mouthwash. The amount of fluoride in water is incredibly small, and , while you shouldn’t be swallowing your mouthwash or toothpaste, anyway, the amount used in one application is safe to accidentally ingest.
Ready to Fight Decay?
Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter, and it should play an important role in everyone’s oral hygiene routine. To learn more about its benefits, or to kick-start your oral healthcare routine with a checkup and cleaning, schedule a visit with your Rancho Cucamonga, CA, dentist today by calling Stadium Dental and Orthodontics at (909) 476-9678. We proudly welcome patients from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, as well as Ontario, Fontana, Upland, Rialto, and the surrounding communities.