It is time once more for a blog from the office of New Albany Implants. The best way to protect your teeth from the dangers of decay is to take steps to prevent decay from ever taking place. Preventive care is a very important component of oral health care. Of course, the most basic form of preventive care is basic oral hygiene habits, like brushing and flossing twice every day. But there is more you can do to protect your teeth, and one of the functions of this blogs is to share those ideas with you.
One of the most important weapons in the fight against tooth decay is fluoride. Tooth decay occurs when minerals are removed from your tooth enamel without being replaced in a process called remineralization. Fluoride, along with calcium and phosphate, help your body to replace the minerals, repairing your enamel. If your diet is deficient in these minerals, remineralization will not take place. And then you have tooth decay.
In a previous blog, we wrote about how tooth decay has been on the rise since since the popularity of bottled water has increased. The reason behind this is the lack of fluoride in bottled water. We have come to depend fluoridated water to protect our teeth. So, if you aren’t getting fluoride from your water, you need to be getting it from somewhere.
How Fluoride Works
Fluoride forms a protective barrier on your enamel that helps it resist attack from the acid created by sugar and bacteria. It will slow the acid’s ability to demineralize your teeth, while encouraging remineralization. In other words, fluoride on your teeth can stop and the repair early stages of tooth decay.
Plaque is a thin film of bacteria that covers your teeth. When you eat sugary foods, plaque turns that sugar into acid. Fluoride, however, will inhibit this process by reducing plaque’s ability to produce acid. No acid, no tooth decay. It’s that simple.
When ingested, fluoride helps strengthen your enamel during the initial development of your teeth, which is why it is so important for children to get fluoride. They will be less likely to get cavities down the road if their teeth are stronger and more resistant to decay in the first place.
Sources for Fluoride
Fluoridated Water – In the US, public water sources have been fortified with fluoride for over 60 years. The practice has been so successful in preventing tooth decay that other parts of the world are starting to adopt it. In Europe, areas that do not have access to public water sources supplement their fluoride intake with fluoridated table salt.
Toothpaste – This is probably the most common and direct form of fluoride application. Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste is probably something you’ve done as long as you’ve had teeth. While the act of brushing alone does a lot to protect your teeth, as far as the toothpaste goes, if it doesn’t contain fluoride, then it is doing nothing more than freshening your breath.
Mouthwash – Like toothpaste, mouthwash has little preventive care value if it does not contain fluoride. People use mouthwash for a variety of different reasons, but if you want your mouthwash to help prevent tooth decay, you better read the label to make sure it contains fluoride.
Let Us Help You
At New Albany Implants, our goal is to help you maintain strong oral health, whether that means replacing a missing tooth in order to prevent further decay, or educating you on ways to keep the teeth you have for as long as possible. Preventive care has many facets, and fluoride use is just one of them. To learn more ways to protect your teeth and gums, check back in on this blog on a regular basis, or simply come see us in our office in Southern Indiana.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.