Merry Christmas! May you have a wonderful time with family and friends today!
If you went to grade school in the United States, you may remember swishing-and-spitting-out your morning fluoride along with all your other classmates at the beginning of one day each week. What was that odd-flavored substance, and what does it do for your teeth? And, as an adult, how can you get it now?
The function of fluoride
Fluoride plays an essential role in the health of your teeth. Applied to your teeth’s outer layer, enamel, fluoride helps protect against the acids and sugars in everyday food that can deteriorate it and cause tooth decay. It’s very important that youngsters get enough fluoride to ensure their growing teeth are developed properly and with strong enamel. Without strong enamel, you’ll be much more vulnerable to some of the most common tooth ailments such as gum disease and cavities.
Fluoride’s role in teeth health is why the dentistry profession came up with fluoride treatments, which are regularly scheduled at your bi-annual cleaning. Your dentist will apply the fluoride to your teeth using a gel or foamy substance and let it sit for a specified period of time.
Where to find it outside of the dentist’s office
Sounds important, huh? Luckily, fluoride is a common mineral found in many of the foods and drinks you already consume each day. You’ll already be getting some fluoride if you eat many fruits, vegetables and milk, some of which also contain the also-necessary tooth mineral calcium. Many municipalities also add fluoride to drinking water partly in attempt to improve the conditions of the teeth of its citizenry. As such, bottled, purified or spring water will likely lack fluoride, so if you regularly only drink pure or purified water, you could be missing out on the important substance every time you drink water or make tea or coffee.
For those who do not get enough fluoride in their diets – such as the aforementioned purified water drinkers – you’ll need to get concentrated doses of fluoride to ensure you maintain optimal teeth health. Luckily, many of your daily teeth brushing products contain some amount of fluoride in them, with some products containing significantly larger amounts than others. Check your toothpaste, mouthwash and floss to see if they contain fluoride. You can also purchase fluoride treatments at the store, or get prescriptions for fluoride medications from your family physician or dentist.
If you have questions or concerns about whether your teeth are exposed to enough fluoride, call us at (708) 460-3040 today to schedule an appointment.