Fluoride is a mineral occurring naturally in many foods as well as water. Fluoride is present in low concentrations in most freshwater and saltwater sources. All vegetation contains some fluoride, which is absorbed from soil and water.
Dentists recommend fluoride as a way of strengthening enamel (the tooth’s outer surface layer). All of our mouths have bacteria, and that bacteria produces acid every time we eat or drink. The acid attacks the enamel and causes demineralization, or the loss of minerals from the tooth’s outer surface. Continued demineralization of the teeth causes tooth decay. Fluoride, in addition to other naturally occurring minerals, such as calcium, help to remineralize teeth. This continual balance between demineralization and remineralization is what keeps our teeth from becoming cavity prone. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to the acid that the bacteria it the mouth produces. It also fortifies teeth and treats dental sensitivity. There are various types of fluoride treatments that make people reach their healthiest smile.
Fluoride is available in different forms including:
Because fluoride occurs naturally in drinking water, most people naturally get enough fluoride to maintain a healthy balance. In this case we will typically only recommend topical fluoride application during regular dental checkups. However, there are situations where a stronger or more frequent fluoride application would be recommended.
Usually, additional fluoride treatment is recommended when the patient: