Fluoride is a mineral which is often added to drinking water and oral hygiene products with the claim that it helps protect teeth from cavities. You’ve probably seen it mentioned on your toothpaste or mouthwash label.
But how does it really work? Does drinking fluoridated water protect your teeth from cavities just like the packages say? In this blog, we take a look at the actual process by which fluoridated water and oral hygiene products are able to strengthen your teeth and protect them from damage.
The Science of Fluoride
The enamel which acts as the protective coating on your teeth is composed of calcium and phosphate ions. Ions are any particle carrying an electrical charge, much like the “positive” and “negative” ends of a magnet. The calcium ions carry a positive charge, and the phosphate ions a negative charge.
When the fluoride, which also carries a negative charge, washes over the positively charged calcium ions, it forms a chemical bond that pulls together multiple calcium ions. This tightens the shield of your enamel and strengthens it against corrosive acids and sugars that we know to cause cavities.
Studies show that the fluoride which binds to the calcium in your enamel only penetrates at a surface level. For the best protection over the long term, continue using fluoridated products regularly to renew your enamel and maintain its strength.
Signs You Need More Fluoride
It shouldn’t take a full-blown cavity for you to recognize that you need to protect your teeth. If you experience sensitivity, such as a shooting pain or tingling sensation when consuming hot or cold foods, or pain when consuming sweet or sour foods, then your enamel may need some assistance.
Seek out fluoridated products such as toothpaste and mouthwash at the store, or ask your dentist for product recommendations.
For the Serious Stuff, Call Parkcrest Dental Group
While fluoride is great for protecting teeth, it’s not a cure-all for oral hygiene problems. If you experience tooth sensitivity, pain, tingling, numbness, or bleeding after trying every product on the shelf, you probably need a professional assessment. Trust the team at Parkcrest Dental Group to help you get your smile back. Schedule an appointment today!