Fluoride is one of the most important contributors to oral health. This material helps re-mineralize the layer of enamel that makes teeth strong. Teeth lose some minerals due to diet, especially if the diet is high in sugar. Bacteria feed on the sugar and build acidic plaque on the teeth. This contributes to mineral loss, which in turn leads to tooth decay. Fluoride not only puts minerals back into tooth enamel but also neutralizes the acid produced by bacteria.
Some types of fluoride, such as calcium fluoride, are found naturally in food and drinking water. Foods that are rich in fluorides include seafood and some vegetables, although the levels depend on the conditions they’re grown in. Sodium fluoride is often added to municipal drinking water to support the health of both teeth and bones.
You can find fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash, and this is an easy way to get supplemental fluoride for your teeth. However, the toothpaste and mouthwash that you buy over the counter have low levels of fluoride. If you need something stronger, such as fluoride tablets or liquids, your Vancouver dentistry provider will need to prescribe it.
During a regular cleaning, the dentist puts fluoride gel, foam or varnish on your teeth. Fluoride can be put into a mouth guard that you wear for a few minutes, or a varnish can be put directly on your teeth. Fluoride can also be applied using a mouthrinse which makes it an easy treatment for you. Children whose permanent teeth are coming in should be exposed to healthy levels of fluoride to strengthen them and protect them against decay.
You may need more than the usual levels of fluoride if you have periodontitis, you have conditions that cause your mouth to be dry or you have a tendency to get cavities easily. The dentist may give you supplemental fluoride if you have bridges or crowns or you wear braces. In some cases, fluoride can also be used to treat sensitive teeth.
Too much fluoride is toxic, and municipal water systems strive to keep the fluoride they put in drinking water to less than two parts per million. Dentists can decide how much fluoride to give a patient depending on their weight. Signs that you’re getting too much fluoride include white spots on your teeth. This condition, called fluorosis, is more likely to happen to children.
Vancouver dentistry providers such as Asante Dental Centre use fluoride treatments to make sure that the enamel lost when a patient eats acidic foods is replaced and that the acids caused by bacteria are reduced; this helps keep teeth gleaming and healthy for a lifetime.