How does fluoride help teeth?
Your tooth enamel is made up of minerals, and each day your tooth enamel goes through the processes of demineralization and remineralization. Demineralization takes place when minerals in your tooth enamel dissolve due to acids, and remineralization is when minerals are deposited back to your enamel. When your body takes in minerals such as calcium, phosphate, and fluoride, your tooth enamel begins to replenish.
This is a daily occurrence, but sometimes more demineralization occurs than remineralization. If your tooth enamel is not being restored faster than it is being depleted, your teeth can begin to decay. This is why fluoride is important to the health of your teeth. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that is resistant to acid. When tooth enamel is remineralized using fluoride, it not only restores strength to the enamel but helps protect it from future exposure to acid.
Different Ways We Get Fluoride
We use and consume things every day that have small amounts of Fluoride, including water, certain foods, and toothpaste.
Fluoride treatments are also available from most dental offices. These fluoride treatments can be directly applied to your teeth as a foam, gel, or varnish. It is typically left on the teeth for a short time and then any excess that has not been absorbed can be removed. You will most likely be instructed not to eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after the treatment, to make sure the fluoride is able to do its work.
Some adults who are struggling with tooth decay or root sensitivity can benefit from fluoride treatments, and they can be especially helpful for children. Children tend to need time to build good oral hygiene habits, so fluoride treatments can give their teeth a little extra protection as they learn to brush and floss properly.