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Is Fluoride Really Good For Your Teeth?

Should You Be Using Fluoride?

Many people ask why fluoride is good for their teeth and what fluoride does to their teeth. Some people aren’t even aware of the products they use that contain fluoride while others choose to use only fluoride-free products.

So, is fluoride good for your teeth? To understand whether or not to use fluoride, it is important to first know what it is. fluoride, which is a molecule made up of fluorine and oxygen, goes through many steps before it reaches the final stage of fluoride dying the water in your tap. 

Keep reading to learn more about whether or not you should use fluoride.

The Process of Making Fluoride

Fluoride starts by being extracted from the ground (mineral). Once fluoride has been extracted from the ground, fluoride miners make fluoride into either liquid or powder form.

The liquid fluoride is then transported to factories where fluoride chemicals are added such as hydrogen fluoride because hydrogen fluoride makes fluoride stable when in water. After that process has finished, fluoride becomes hydrofluoric acid and then sodium silicofluoride, and then sodium fluoride comes out as fluoride that is in the tap water you drink.

Sodium silicofluoride and fluoride (found in fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office, fluoride treatment at home by yourself, fluoride treatments to help kids’ teeth grow strong, etc.) are used around the world because they both strengthen your teeth’s enamel.

This is a simple yet effective way to ensure that all kids across the globe can maintain their childhood teeth and in return grow and maintain their adult teeth when they come in. This will help them to develop strong enamel and teeth as they develop.

Fluoride’s Impact

Fluoride has improved many people’s lives. Fluoride has helped out children who don’t have access to clean drinking water with fluoride in it. Fluoride treatments are given to them after their permanent teeth start growing which helps these children not get any cavities.

Most fluoride treatments are fluoride in the form of fluoride peroxide, fluoride citrate, or fluoride sodium which can all strengthen your teeth’ enamel. Fluoride does not prevent diseases inside your mouth but it protects you from getting cavities. With fluoride in tap water, people have reduced their chances of getting cavities by at least forty percent.

You may use mouthwash with fluoride if you want to protect your teeth more than they already are protected. This is an added benefit especially if you already use fluoride-containing toothpaste. If you don’t, this is a simple way to increase your fluoride intake to create a layer of protection for your tooth enamel.

Fluoride in Drinking Water

The fluoride in the water is safe because fluoride is filtered out of the water when it goes through your system. Fluoride can make you feel sick or give you a bad taste in your mouth if you drink too much fluoride (water, tea, etc.) at once.

If you don’t want fluoride in your tap water some places sell bottled water with no fluoride added. This might be more expensive than regular tap water with fluoride.

With better technology and with easier ways to get fluoride we will see fewer cavities and better teeth in the future! This saves time and money, and pain that can occur with cavities!

If people do not have fluoride in their drinking water, fluoride can also be utilized in things like fluoride treatments at home and fluoride treatments given to children by their dentist.

Benefits of Fluoride

Fluoride has been proven to be good for your teeth because fluoride strengthens your enamel which helps prevent cavities from forming on your teeth. If fluoride was not added to the water people would get even more cavities than they already do because fluoride protects you against getting a cavity.

There is no need to use anything other than fluoride toothpaste if you want to protect yourself from getting too many cavities, but you may add fluoride mouthwash which will make it even better.

Fluoride is safe because fluoride does not stay much in your body when you drink fluoride (in water or fluoride treatment). Fluoride goes through your system quickly and doesn’t harm you unless you drink too many fluoride-containing drinks at once.

You should still talk to a dentist before starting fluoride treatments yourself because fluoride can make some people sick if they have high blood pressure, heart problems, kidney problems, etc. But for most people fluoride will just be good for their teeth’ enamel which protects the teeth from getting cavities and keeps your teeth healthy!

Caution Associated With Using Fluoride Products

Once fluoride was placed into toothpaste, fluoride treatments, and fluoride supplements, fluoride suddenly became the miracle cure for healthy teeth. The fluoride that is found in your toothpaste and water can be dangerous to your teeth though if there is too much ingested over time.

Symptoms of fluoride poisoning include:

  • Itchy throat
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech

These fluoride signs might seem like they don’t affect you immediately but over time this toxicity will lead to health problems such as bone fractures or damage to organs such as kidneys. These are long-term outcomes that are less likely to occur if using fluoride properly.

Be cautious of the amount you ingest. If you have concerns about ingesting fluoride, always speak with your provider or dentist. If you don’t want to drink water or use toothpaste with fluoride in it, there are other options.

Alternatives To Fluoride Treatments

Some people prefer to take supplements than using toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride supplements are safe when taken correctly (following dosage instructions) and can be used to strengthen your teeth. Fluoride supplements contain much more fluoride than fluoride treatments.

Fluoride supplements have the advantage of being able to target specific teeth, whereas fluoride treatments can’t do this. For this reason, there is some popularity with these supplements. This allows people to know more about the exact amount of fluoride they are ingesting, especially if they have health concerns that could be exacerbated by too much fluoride intake.

What Should You Use?

Many fluoride products are readily available for children and adults alike, to help fight cavities or strengthen teeth. These fluoride treatments include fluoride toothpaste, fluoride mouthwashes, fluoride varnishes, fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office, fluoride supplements in certain foods, and fluoride in drinking water – to name a few.

When choosing a product to use, always speak with your doctor or dentist. Some products can be more beneficial for some than others.

However, fluoride is a controversial topic.- some advocate fluoride treatments as necessary for optimal dental health, while others claim fluoride treatments are dangerous. So the question remains: Is fluoride good for your teeth? The answer depends on whom you ask.

Professional Perspective on Fluoride Toothpaste

Physicians advise that consistent use of fluoride toothpaste and mouthwashes help strengthen enamel (the protective outer layer of teeth).

Fluoride can also reverse early signs of tooth decay before more serious damage occurs.  According to the American Dental Association (ADA), fluoride “helps harden the enamel surface of your teeth so they are less likely to decay.

An explanation of fluoride’s mechanism of action by the ADA includes fluoride being “able to penetrate deep into the grooves on the surface of tooth enamel, particularly in areas that are difficult for your toothbrush bristles to reach.

The ADA also explains fluoride’s role in remineralization – the process by which fluoride helps harden weakened or softened enamel.  Fluoride can also help prevent cavities from worsening.

Mayo Clinic’s Perspective on Fluoride

According to Mayo Clinic (an organization with several hospitals), fluoride treatments work best when fluoride is combined with proper oral hygiene and diet:

If you use fluoride correctly, it strengthens the structure of teeth and minimizes how much decay they will develop over time. Fluoride is available in fluoride mouth rinses, fluoride toothpaste, and fluoride varnishes that can be applied by a dentist or your dental hygienist. Fluoride supplements also are an option for children up to age 16 who don’t have fluoride in their community water supply.

In addition to fluoride treatments, the ADA emphasizes the importance of diet and daily oral hygiene routines–such as twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste or fluoride mouthwash. The ADA recommends avoiding sugary foods and drinks because these “foods stick around on your teeth long after you eat them…and start the decay process.

How To Use Fluoride Properly

The fluoride debate can be confusing, but fluoride treatments do help strengthen teeth and protect them from cavity development. The ADA advises that fluoride treatments are most effective when you use fluoride with proper oral hygiene. Also, fluoride should be combined with a healthy diet. 

If you are not receiving fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office, it is important to use fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouthwash twice a day to protect your teeth from decay.

Oral health is the beginning of your overall health. Starting with a beautiful and healthy smile can greatly impact your health. Brushing twice a day, using mouthwash, and flossing are the best oral habits to have. Do not forget to visit your dentist regularly!

Ask your dentist if fluoride treatments are right for you. If fluoride is recommended, take the necessary steps to have a fluoride treatment performed by your dentist.

Written By

Hi, I'm Matt and I'm one of the writers here at Modern Dental Hygiene. For over 10 years I have been working directly with dentists. My goal is to help you understand the basics of dental hygiene. I enjoy writing about everything related to brushing, flossing and taking care of your teeth. In my spare time, I'm either spending time with my family, doing a DIY project or learning a new skill.

About Us

At Modern Dental Hygiene we make accessible to everyone free dental hygiene information.  The Modern Dental Hygiene team consists of enthusiast, hygienists and dentists. Our common goal is to bring quality content to help you to stay informed.

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