admin May 31, 2021
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral abundantly found in our surroundings, including soil, water, rocks, air, and plants. It is also found in our teeth and bones and is considered to be a natural cavity fighter because of its ability to strengthen the tooth enamel.
Fluoride makes the outer layer of teeth impervious to the acid produced by foods in our mouth and avoids decay. Thus, dentists in Hope Island recommend using fluoridated toothpaste to keep cavities at bay in children and adults. Here is everything you need to know about the importance of fluoride in maintaining optimum dental health.
How Fluoride Affects Dental Health?
According to various research in the 1930s, it was determined that children consuming fluoridated water were less susceptible to tooth decay. Thus, many countries, including Australia, began water fluoridation, which has been recommended by WHO. Fluoride starts working on the strengthening of the hard outer surface of teeth even before they come out of the gums.
It enters the bloodstream and becomes a part of the permanent teeth. The consumption of fluoride through food and water is known as a systemic advantage, and it can also be acquired from supplements that are usually given to children.
In adults, fluoride helps in remineralising the weakened tooth enamel and restricts decay or cavities. The fluoride present in the toothpaste and mouth rinses offers a topical advantage to teeth. The mineral present in the food and water also provides a topical benefit by mixing with saliva and keeping the teeth dipped in fluoride.
The plaque on our teeth consists of bacteria, which initiate the demineralisation process and cause tooth decay. It involves the production of acidic saliva that damages the tooth enamel.
Fluoride reverses the decay by remineralising and making the teeth stronger and tougher with the help of calcium and phosphate ions present in the enamel. The combination of the minerals develops fluorapatite that does not allow the occurrence of cavities.
Sources of Fluoride
The benefit of fluoride for teeth is unquestioned. Thus, dentists recommend fluoride-based dental products for improved oral health. Here are the primary sources of the mineral.
- Dental Products
Fluoride-based toothpaste and mouth rinse help in reducing the chances of cavities. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste followed by mouthwash is beneficial for optimum oral hygiene. Children below three years can start using a tiny dot size of the toothpaste, and those between the age group of 3 and 6 years can use a pea-sized amount of the toothpaste while brushing.
Mouthwash consisting of fluoride is also beneficial in reducing the chances of cavities. However, they should not be used by children below six years as they may not be able to spit it out and may swallow the liquid.
- Fluoridated Water
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)has approved the adjustment of fluoride levels in drinking water in Australia. The level of the mineral should be within 0.6 to 1.1 milligrams per litre. It has reduced tooth decay in children and adults considerably.
- Food and Beverages
Fluoride-rich foods are a convenient way of consuming the mineral that helps in making teeth stronger. Thus, a balanced diet must include spinach, potatoes, grapes, and raisins. Among beverages, wines and black tea contain fluoride. However, both are known to stain teeth. Thus, you must refrain from too much consumption of these drinks.
People who consume bottled water may not get a sufficient amount of fluoride. They can rely on fluoride supplements to make sure their children do not suffer because of it. These supplements are available for children between the age of six months and 16 years. However, they must be prescribed by the dentist or the pediatrician and should not be consumed without the guidance of a medical practitioner.
What is Dental Fluorosis?
Although fluoride is proven to benefit teeth, it can become a problem if consumed in large quantity for a long time. The overdose of fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis in children whose teeth have not yet erupted from their gums. It causes the appearance of white spots or lines on the teeth but does not trigger pain or dental problems.
In some cases, it can cause discoloration of the teeth. It primarily affects children below the age of eight years whose permanent teeth are still growing under the gums.
The usual cause of this problem is swallowing fluoride toothpaste by children while brushing. Thus, you must supervise your child until the age of eight years while they brush and make them spit while cleaning their teeth.
Is Fluoride Safe?
The mineral has been studied for an exceptionally long time, and there are no side effects if it is consumed in adequate quantity. Fluoridated water, foods, supplements, and dental products do not cause any harm and are safe to be used by both children and adults.
If you are not getting enough fluoride, your dentist will ask you to use a fluoride-based toothpaste or give a fluoride treatment in the clinic to keep your teeth protected. The in-office treatment involves the application of a gel or varnish on the teeth to make the enamel harder.
Fluoride is significantly essential for the development of teeth in children and for improving the protective shield of enamel in adults. Thus, dentists in Hope Island recommend fluoride dental products or treatments to keep dental problems away.