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Why is Dental Fluoride Important for Teeth?

Dental fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in many foods, as well as water and toothpaste. Diet plays an important role in fluoride consumption. It is vital for both children and adults to eat a diet rich in fibrous and wholegrain starches, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, dairy, meat, fish and other natural sources of vitamins and minerals. This mineral plays a very important role in  dental health, helping to remineralise teeth and prevent tooth decay.

Every day, minerals are lost from the enamel of the tooth. Minerals are also added by the food and water we drink each day. These processes are known as demineralisation and remineralisation. Demineralisation occurs when acids formed by plaque and sugars in the mouth attack the tooth’s enamel. These minerals, which include fluoride along with calcium and phosphate, are added back onto the tooth enamel when we consume food and water containing the minerals. Tooth decay is caused by too much demineralisation (loss of minerals) and not enough remineralisation (addition of minerals).

Dentists all agree that dental fluoride is important for everyone from the age of six months to be exposed to fluoride. Children and adults both benefit from this essential mineral, which is available in many forms, from toothpastes to mouth washes, gels and supplements. Without this mineral, the teeth are far more prone to tooth decay.

The Importance of Dental Fluoride for Healthy Teeth

Found in many foods and in water, fluoride is a key ingredient in many toothpastes. Dentists can also apply a special fluoride gel, foam or a varnish, while supplements can be prescribed by a dentist or doctor.

What are the main benefits of dental fluoride, and why do we need this mineral for healthy teeth? Some of the top advantages of fluoride include the following:

  • Fluoride is the most effective way to remineralise the teeth. In the process, teeth are strengthened and protected when the mineral bonds to weak areas of tooth enamel. Acid production is also halted, which further helps to prevent tooth decay.
  • Fluoride is a vital part of any dental hygiene routine, with benefits for all ages. Children that receive sufficient fluoride during the development of their teeth are far more likely to have strong, decay-resistant teeth throughout their lifetime. Adults who are prone to cavities will also benefit from an application of fluoride.
  • If no fluoride is present in water supply, systematic fluoride can be taken in the form of supplements. Each pill contains 0.25mg of fluoride. This supplement can be taken daily from birth and is best taken until the age of 12 to ensure that children grow up with healthy teeth. Children from 0 to 1 year can take 1 tablet; children from 1 to 2 years can take 2 tablets; children from 2 to 3 years can take 3 tablets, and children from 4 to 12 years can take 4 tablets. It is important to note that too much systematic fluoride can be just as harmful as too little, leading to discoloured, malformed teeth.
  • Fluoride may even be able to help reverse early tooth decay. While it can prevent cavities, it cannot however heal cavities that are already formed. As such, fluoride is an essential strategy for prevention of dental issues and can save you a fortune if cavities are prevented from an early stage.
  • For children, topical application of fluoride can strengthen the teeth after they erupt, by absorbing into the surface of the tooth enamel. This helps protect young teeth against decay. Topical fluoride is present in toothpastes and other dental products that are enhanced with minerals. Your dentist may also recommend that your child has a professional application once or twice a year during check-ups.

Keep your teeth as strong and healthy as can be with the help of dental fluoride products that protect your teeth for many years to come. For more information on fluoride treatments or to book dental cleaning in Durban, contact Gateway Dental today.