There are a number of common misconceptions about fluoride. However, the truth about fluoride is that it is a very good element that can be used to protect your teeth from damage. To help you better understand the benefits of this element, read about three big benefits of fluoride.
It Protects Your Teeth
Many people mistakenly believe that fluoride does not offer any health benefits; however, this is most definitely not the case. In fact, fluoride is recognized as being the best element you can use to protect your teeth. This is because fluoride protects your teeth in three different ways:
- It slows down acid production – Tooth decay occurs when bacteria is left within your mouth. Over time, this bacteria produces acidic waste products that disintegrate the structure of your teeth. Fluoride protects against this damage by helping create an environment that does not allow bacteria to produce high volumes of harmful acids.
- It promotes remineralization – In addition to protecting your mouth from damage, fluoride is also very effective in rebuilding teeth that have previously been damaged by acid attack. This is because fluoride is able to accumulate in small areas of damaged enamel and strengthen the area by promoting remineralization. Essentially, this is the process of tooth decay in reverse and is great for rebuilding your smile.
- It inhibits demineralization – After remineralization, the newly structured tooth is actually considerably stronger than before. As such, the teeth will actually be better at withstanding demineralization and remaining healthy.
It is Great for Pre-existing Conditions
The vast majority of people will receive enough fluoride from their toothpaste and drinking water to ensure they are well protected against acid attack. However, some people can have a fluoride deficiency and may require a higher concentration of fluoride in order to keep their smile healthy. Typically, patients with extensive damage to their teeth and who exhibit overall poor dental hygiene will need to take a fluoride supplement. This is to ensure that their teeth are well-protected and are able to fight against plaque accumulation.
Poor oral hygiene by itself can often merit fluoride treatment; however, in the majority of cases the patient will also have a pre-existing condition. If you have a disease such as gingivitis, or you have large abscesses on the inside of your mouth, you will have an increased risk of suffering from tooth decay. As such, dentists may recommend undergoing a period of fluoride supplementation to provide your teeth with an extra layer of protection against aggressive acids.
It is Generally Very Safe
The health benefits of fluoride are well understood and are recognized across the health industry. However, there is some concern in the public domain about the potential health risks associated with fluoride. The vast majority of these concerns are misplaced and fluoride is recognized as generally being very safe to use. However, it should be noted that there is a legitimate concern regarding the potential for fluorosis to occur.
Fluorisis is a condition whereby the teeth become discolored when exposed to fluoride at particularly high concentrations. Typically, fluorosis manifests itself as small colored specks that appear on the surface of enamel. This condition only occurs in children; however, the effects are lifelong and it is not possible to remove the specks later in life.
It must be stressed that the fluorosis only occurs at very high concentrations of the element and from prolonged exposure. As such, the condition will only occur in an extremely small proportion of children and the risk can be mitigated by practicing proper dental hygiene. If you're concerned about this problem, make sure to talk regularly with a dentist.