If someone asked you about the best way to strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis, you would probably say, “Get more calcium.” Similarly, the best way to strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities is to get more fluoride. There are two main ways you can benefit from this mineral: ingesting it from the water supply or supplementation (which is only given to kids) or using it topically. Topical fluoride is an easy, effective way to benefit your oral health and help minimize the dental work you need from a dentist in Keller. Want to know more? Keep reading below!
What Is Fluoride and What Are the Benefits?
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral just like calcium and phosphate. Your teeth are mainly made of these minerals, which accounts for them being so hard and tough. In fact, your enamel even beats out your bones as the hardest substance in your body. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it’s indestructible.
Each time you eat, especially foods that are rich in sugars or carbohydrates, the bacteria in your mouth produce acid that wears away your enamel. Fluoride counteracts this by strengthening your teeth and making your enamel tougher and harder.
In addition, topical fluoride has an amazing ability to reverse “pre-cavities” in which the decay hasn’t progressed past the enamel layer of your teeth. The only catch is that they have to be caught in time.
How Can You Use Fluoride For Cavity Prevention?
First, the vast majority of store-bought toothpastes contain fluoride, but it doesn’t hurt to double check. If you’d like an added layer of prevention, it’s also helpful to swish with a mouthwash each day that contains fluoride. Since it’s not rinsed out, it adds an extra “layer” of fluoride to your teeth that can be very effective.
If you’re particularly cavity-prone, ask a dentist about applying a professional treatment or giving you a prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste to use at home (or both). Professional treatments release a powerful dose of fluoride at your routine checkups, while the at-home paste gives your teeth a strong daily exposure to it.
One last thought to keep in mind: Dental insurance companies typically cover fluoride treatments at 100% for kids under the age of 19. But, since they know it reduces the amount of dental work you’ll need, some plans also cover it for adults as well. At the very least, it’s well worth checking your benefits or asking your dentist to look into it.
Getting cavities treated with dental fillings and crowns is no fun. But with the right preventative care, including topical fluoride, they can be completely avoided!
About the Author
Dr. Sheri McIntosh is a family dentist in Keller with over 15 years of experience. In that time, she’s seen how beneficial fluoride is in preventing cavities and minimizing major dental work. In addition to recommending topical fluoride use at home, she also offers professional treatments to patients of all ages. If you have any questions about fluoride or your oral health in general, she can be reached via her website.