How Can Fluoride Affect My Teeth?
Fluoride provides your teeth with an effective way to stay healthy; this mineral lowers the risk of tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel. Although there have been some concerns about the use of fluoride, especially in community water supplies, this mineral has been shown to offer a safe method of reducing tooth decay.
How Does Fluoride Work?
The enamel on your teeth is a covering that helps prevent bacteria from causing decay. Daily wear and tear and poor oral hygiene habits can cause tooth enamel to become weaker, which means that it is not as effective at preventing tooth decay. Fluoride plays a role in making tooth enamel stronger again in order to reduce the risk of cavities. In fact, fluoride can even help reverse the effects of tooth decay in the early stages.
Is Fluoride Safe?
Fluoride has come under scrutiny in the past over concerns about the effects of adding it to community water supplies. These concerns have largely been based on misinformation and misconceptions about this mineral. Researchers have found that fluoride has had a significant impact on lowering the occurrence of tooth decay, especially among children. It has also not been associated with negative effects when consumed over many years from local water supplies. Communities have been adding fluoride to public water supplies for roughly 70 years. In that time, the rates of tooth decay in these communities have declined. As a result of these findings, the American Dental Association has supported and encouraged the addition of fluoride to drinking water. A lower rate of tooth decay in these communities means that children and adults have healthier teeth overall.
Where Can You Get Fluoride?
There are several ways to make sure that your teeth have plenty of fluoride for good oral health. You can eat foods that contain this mineral and drink from public water supplies that have fluoride added to them. Using toothpaste and mouthrinse products with fluoride can also increase the levels of this mineral to help protect your teeth from decay. Having routine dental cleanings done also provides you with another way to get more fluoride protection. During your cleaning, you might have fluoride applied to your teeth, which reduces your risk of cavities and helps your teeth stay in good condition. If you have children who are at risk of not getting enough fluoride from local water supplies, prescription fluoride supplements are also available. These are meant to be used for children who range from six months to sixteen years of age.
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