If you had a checkup recently, you may have had your dental hygienist ask you if you want fluoride treatment. You may have heard the word “fluoride” before, and that it has some benefits for your teeth, but you might have also been told that it’s dangerous.
Fluoride isn’t that much of a danger, but you still might not have a very good idea of what it does. Here’s a guide that can tell you a little more about that.
What Is Fluoride?
At its core, fluoride is just a mineral found abundantly in nature. Much like other minerals—like iron, calcium, and zinc—the body uses fluoride to strengthen itself. In particular, we make use of fluoride to support the functions of our teeth and bones.
Fluoride is well known due to it being one of the only minerals that the government adds to tap water. That’s because of its importance in the development of teeth, and the lack of it found naturally in people’s diets.
How Does Fluoride Affect Teeth?
The surface of your teeth is covered with enamel, a bone-like substance that protects the inner layers of the tooth. Interestingly, it’s also the material that makes teeth white. Fluoride helps the body to fortify that enamel, making it harder and more resistant to decay. When dentists ask you if you want a fluoride treatment, it’s to help you fend off cavities until your next checkup.
Fluoride has proven to be incredibly effective at doing that. In places where fluoride is added to drinking water, multiple studies have found that the rate of tooth decay decreases dramatically.
Is Fluoride Safe?
As was hinted at earlier, fluoride is often the subject of conspiracy theories and panic regarding its use in drinking water. While many of the more sinister claims have very little merit, at extremely high levels fluoride can be harmful.
In particular, it can cause a condition called fluorosis that can affect your teeth and bones. However, fluorosis is really only common in children, and they won’t be able to hit dangerous levels due to drinking tap water. If you want to prevent this condition, just make sure that your children don’t frequently swallow their toothpaste after brushing.
In the end, fluoride is an incredibly effective way to prevent cavities, and fluoride treatments are completely safe when administered by a dentist. Next time your dental hygienist it to you, you might want to give it a try!
About the Author
At Meadowbrook Dental care, we don’t want dental work to feel like a chore. We’ll make sure you feel happy and welcome when you visit our office, and we’ll help you protect your oral health in an environment that will put you at ease. Our incredible dental team will go the extra mile to get to know you, so we can give you the personalized dental care you won’t find elsewhere.
If you have any questions about fluoride’s role in oral health, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (516) 284-1234.