Facts About Fluoride

Did you wonder about any of the myths you’ve been hearing about fluoride?  Well we have a few solid facts to set the record straight!

  • Fact #1: Exposing teeth to fluoride during childhood years strengthens teeth over an entire lifetime
  • Fact #2: Fluoride prevents tooth decay in the most cost-effective way
  • Fact #3: Most of the fluoride in public water is extracted from phosphate rock
  • Fact #4: Fluoride isn’t considered dangerous to children when used as intended
  • Fact #5: Children who swallow toothpaste are at risk of mild  fluorosis
    • What is fluorosis you ask? The appearance of brown or white discoloration spots on your teeth from taking in too much fluoride
  • Fact #6: Fluoride helps to harden the enamel on adult teeth that have already emerged

3 Main Ways Fluoride Helps Your Teeth

Most experts agree that a daily dose of fluoride is one of the most effective methods for preventing cavities and tooth decay.  In fact, research shows that cities with fluoride in their drinking water experience 40% to 70% less tooth decay than those without.

  1. Fluoride restores your teeth through remineralization.

Remineralization is the process in which a tooth restores itself in the early stages of tooth decay. Fluoride found in your saliva adheres to the surface of the tooth and attracts other minerals to the problem area, including calcium.

  1. Fluoride helps to make a tooth more resistant to decay.

When fluoride is present during remineralization, it creates the mineral fluorapatite to restore the tooth, instead of the usual minerals, hydroxyapatite and carbonated hydroxyapatite.  Fluorapatite is more resistant to tooth decay caused by acids than the other minerals, so the newly restored tooth can fight off a repeat occurrence of decay.

  1. Fluoride interferes with cavity-causing bacteria.

When you take a bite of food, bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar found in the food and produce a byproduct of acid, the main culprit in tooth decay. Fluoride slows down the rate at which bacteria can metabolize sugars, resulting in less acid production.