The Truth About Fluoride

Fluoride Toothpaste on a tooth brush

The Truth About Fluoride

If you look at the toothpaste aisle in any store, you might be surprised to find such a great variety of different products. Whitening, plaque protection, and toothpaste for sensitive teeth are just some examples of toothpaste options. But what is perhaps most interesting is the number of different toothpaste products that contain fluoride. What exactly is fluoride? And do we really need it, or are we better off buying fluoride-free toothpaste? We’ve got the answers for you right here. 

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral present in foods, rocks, soil, and water. Scientifically speaking, fluoride is a chemical ion of fluorine, one of the top 20 most common elements in the earth’s crust. Fluoride is usually odorless, white or colorless, and has a slightly bitter taste. 

When it comes to oral health, fluoride can do wonders for keeping your enamel strong and your teeth cavity-free. Let’s look at how fluoride can benefit your teeth, specifically what it can do for your enamel. 

The Importance of Your Enamel

Tooth enamel is the outermost layer of your teeth and is made from calcium and phosphate. Enamel is stronger than bone and works hard to protect your teeth from cavities and decay. 

Enamel is reinforced by your mouth’s saliva, which coats your teeth with calcium and phosphate. Unfortunately, with time, enamel tends to be damaged by bacteria present in our mouths. 

When you eat sugary foods or foods heavy in carbohydrates, cavity-forming bacteria begin snacking on remnants of the foods left on your teeth and then produce acidic waste that erodes your enamel and makes you vulnerable to cavities and decay. 

How Does Fluoride Protect My Enamel?

What can you do to protect your enamel from damage caused by sugar-eating bacteria? That’s where fluoride comes to the rescue! When you use toothpaste or oral rinses that contain fluoride, your saliva becomes rich in fluoride in addition to calcium and phosphate. 

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making your tooth enamel stronger and more resilient to damage from bacteria and plaque. Additionally, fluoride, phosphate, and calcium work together to remineralize tooth enamel and can even reverse early decay. 

How Can I Make Sure to Get Enough Fluoride?

Fluoride is available in many community water systems, but some filtering systems can remove and diminish the amount of fluoride present in your drinking water. 

If you want to make sure you are getting the right amount of fluoride, it’s always best to talk to your dentist. Dr. Koch can help you decide if fluoride toothpaste, fluoride rinses, or fluoride in-office applications could be right for your dental health and answer all your fluoride-related questions. 

Koch Aesthetic Dentistry in Birmingham, Alabama

Fluoride is an essential mineral that can make your teeth more resilient against cavities and decay. Unfortunately, it’s not often easy to determine how much fluoride your teeth need and where to best get it. That’s where Dr. Koch and Koch Aesthetic Dentistry come in! Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more about fluoride and our available fluoride treatments and products.