Fluoride: How Important Is It? - Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

Fluoride: How Important Is It?

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The word fluoride written in block letters with a water droplet above that word.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), fluoride is one of the top reasons that tooth decay over the last several years has significantly diminished. Fluoride has been proven to fight against cavities and tooth decay and is important for both children and adults. Fluoride and fluoridation are effective and safe methods for safeguarding your smile when they are used appropriately. Let us show you the many benefits and advantages of regular fluoride treatments and practices!


Tooth Decay and Your Teeth

When you try to guess what the most chronic disease is among children and adults, you probably wouldn’t guess it’s tooth decay. Most people know this term by “cavities” and it’s something that about 92% of people get during their lifetime. Children and senior citizens are the age groups that are the most prone to cavities, which is the slow decay of their teeth.


This is a condition that affects an estimated 42% of children when they still have their baby teeth, according to the National institutes of Health. About 26% of children have untreated decay that can slowly worsen into tooth loss or infection. This all starts to happen when you take a bite of food or drink something sweet. Sugars in those items mix with bacteria in your mouth to create plaque. This is a sticky, clear and acidic substance that will stick to your teeth, especially around your gum line.


If you don’t brush and floss your teeth, that acidic plaque will continue to stay on the teeth. Over time, the acids can break down tooth enamel, decaying it and moving that decay further inside a tooth. This is how cavities and tooth loss happens. The key is to protect your teeth with brushing, flossing, seeing the dentist often, and using fluoride products.


Young boy holding a minute sand timer with a fluoride treatment tray in his mouth at a dental office.

Fluoride: A Natural Mineral

Many people know that fluoride has something to do with the teeth, but what is it really? Fluoride is actually a naturally-occuring mineral found in the earth. Studies show that it is the 13th most abundant mineral on the earth’s crust. It is a mineral that can make other elements stronger. When scientists first added it to water supplies and dental products, the amount of people with tooth decay was significantly lower.


Over time, we knew that fluoride was the reason for that reduction. For 70 years after this discovery, people in the United States have been drinking public water that has been fluoridated. This was the best way to ensure that the highest number of people could benefit from the strengthening effects of fluoride when it came to the teeth. It’s use has reduced tooth decay rates by at least 25% in both children and adults. The government implemented fluoridated water because of the health benefits it brings, but also because families save countless dollars on dental bills they would otherwise have from more cavities.


Where Can You Find Fluoride?

If you want to strengthen your teeth, it’s as easy as drinking public water. If you only drink bottled water, consider drinking tap water from time-to-time, as some bottled water sources are not usually fluoridated. You can also find this mineral in ADA-approved toothpastes, which are all required to have some level of fluoride for tooth decay protection. Look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance to know if your toothpaste contains fluoride.


You can also find it in many mouthwashes that seek to kill germs and strengthen the teeth. When added to products, fluoride acts as a barrier between bacteria and your teeth. You can think of it as a shield that envelopes your teeth, making bacteria bounce off of them instead of sticking to the teeth and decaying them.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported fluoride and “one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th Century.” This is just one of the reasons we provide fluoride treatments to our patients when they have their teeth cleaned. We clean all residue off of the teeth, then provide a quick less-than-60-seconds fluoride treatment. This instantly strengthens the teeth and is one of the best substances you can use to get stronger teeth.

View of a water fountain with the water going.

Strengthening Your Teeth

Not enough people think about their oral health on a day-to-day basis, when it’s one of the most important parts of your body you can take of. Studies show that your oral health greatly affects your overall health. If you skip brushing, flossing and other oral health recommendations, you will eventually get tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath and oral health diseases. Those can lead to tooth loss, mushy gums, infections, mouth sores, and can even worsen chronic conditions such as diabetes and gum disease.


That is why strengthening your teeth is so important to your health. You can find that strengthening power with fluoridated water and products. The next time you go to the store to get toothpaste and oral care products, make sure they contain fluoride. When you come in for your dental cleaning and exam, we can show you how quick a powerful fluoride treatment can be for your teeth. Call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today at (720) 887-6003!