Fluoride

Fluoride Toothpaste.Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally present to some degree in both fresh and salt water sources. Its major dental benefit is that it is readily incorporated into the teeth's mineral structure, thereby making them stronger and more decay-resistant. Fluoride can even reverse tiny cavities that are starting to form. Less tooth decay means you have a better chance of avoiding significant dental treatments — and keeping your natural teeth for life.

The great majority of toothpastes sold today contain fluoride, because it's an effective, easy and inexpensive way to prevent tooth decay and promote oral health. Because of its proven health benefits, fluoride is often added to municipal water supplies to bring them to the current recommended level of 0.70 parts per million. In fact, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently named community water fluoridation as one of the most significant public health achievements of the 20th century.

Making Fluoride Available to the Teeth

Fluoride can be delivered to teeth in two ways: topically (on the surface) and systemically (through the body). The first method helps people of all ages; the latter is only beneficial in childhood while the permanent teeth are forming beneath the gum line — up to about age 9.

Fluoride ingested in drinking water can reach teeth both ways. When swallowed, it travels through the body and becomes incorporated into developing teeth; it also stays in the mouth throughout the day in a very low concentration. Toothpaste and mouthwashes provide higher concentrations over shorter periods of time. Fluoride can also be applied directly to the teeth at the dental office; children who get their water from unfluoridated sources may be prescribed a fluoride supplement in the form of pills or drops.

How Much Do You Need?

Tooth Caries Balance.

The amount of fluoride you need varies according to your particular risk for decay, which is determined by many factors: your body's own biochemistry, your diet, the amount of fluoride you come into contact with daily, and the effort you put into your own oral hygiene. If you maintain an effective daily routine of brushing and flossing, and avoid sugary and/or acidic foods and beverages, your decay risk will likely be low. If you are lax about oral hygiene, drink soda and snack throughout the day, your risk will be much higher.

Poor oral hygiene and constant intake of sweets make an ideal environment for decay-causing bacteria, which need sugar to thrive. In the process of digesting that sugar, they create tooth-eroding acids as a byproduct. And if you drink beverages that are already acidic — soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, even some fruit juices — you are applying those tooth-destroying acids directly to your teeth without using bacteria as a middleman. In that case, you might benefit from fluoride treatments at the dental office and/or regular use of a fluoride mouthrinse.

Fluorosis.However, there is such a thing as too much fluoride — particularly when it comes to children. If developing teeth absorb too much fluoride, they can become permanently stained or even pitted — a condition referred to as enamel fluorosis. It is not dangerous, but may require cosmetic dental work. That's why young children should not be allowed to swallow fluoride toothpaste. Adults who take in excessive fluoride throughout their lifetimes may become more prone to bone fractures or tenderness, a condition known as skeletal fluorosis. Severe forms of enamel or skeletal fluorosis are not common in the United States. Still, given that excessive doses of fluoride could cause problems, it's best to consult a dental professional on the most appropriate products for you and your child to use.

Related Articles

Fluoride - Dear Doctor Magazine

Fluoride and Fluoridation in Dentistry The Center for Disease Control says that water fluoridation is “One of the ten most important public health measures of the 20th century.” Extensive systematic reviews of the evidence conclusively show that water fluoridation and fluoride toothpastes both substantially reduce dental decay. Learn why through the amazing fluoride story... Read Article

Topical Fluoride - Dear Doctor Magazine

Topical Flouride Fluoride has a unique ability to strengthen tooth enamel and make it more resistant to decay. That's why dentists often apply it directly to the surfaces of children's teeth after routine dental cleanings. This surface (topical) application can continue to leach fluoride into the tooth surface for a month or more... Read Article

Tooth Decay - Dear Doctor Magazine

Tooth Decay — A Preventable Disease Tooth decay is the number one reason children and adults lose teeth during their lifetime. Yet many people don't realize that it is a preventable infection. This article explores the causes of tooth decay, its prevention, and the relationship to bacteria, sugars, and acids... Read Article

Cockrell Dental Office

1040 Hillcrest Rd.
Mobile, AL 36695
Phone: (251) 639-0110
Fax: (251) 634-1097
Email: [email protected] 

google
Yelp

Office Hours

Monday - Wednesday:

7:30 am - 5:30 pm

Thursday, Friday:

7:30 am - 12:30 pm

Saturday, Sunday:

Closed

Featured Articles

Read about helpful topics

  • Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

    The new coronavirus epidemic that started in Wuhan, China, in late December is now in dozens of countries, including the United States. Here are answers to key questions about the virus, including how to protect yourself and what to expect. What are the symptoms of coronavirus? According to the CDC, ...

    Read More
  • Coronavirus Myths & Facts

    As Coronavirus Myths Multiply, Experts Sort Fact From Fiction The new coronavirus continues its steady march through the U.S. population, bringing with it a second plague: potentially dangerous myths and rumors about COVID-19, spread via the internet. You may have already heard some of these coronavirus ...

    Read More
  • How Long Does the Coronavirus Live on Surfaces?

    The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person. When someone who is infected coughs or sneezes, they send droplets containing the virus into the air. A healthy person can then breathe in those droplets. You can also catch the virus if you touch a surface or object that has ...

    Read More
  • Avoid Coronavirus Misinformation

    A Doctor's Tips for Spotting Fake COVID-19 News As we all try to stay safe from COVID-19, arming yourself with accurate news information has never been more important – but it’s not always easy. Fake news can be challenging to recognize because there’s often a little truth mixed in with misinformation. ...

    Read More
  • Do I have COVID-19 or a cold?

    Do I have COVID-19 or a cold? If you don't have a fever and your eyes aren't itchy, it's probably the common cold, not COVID-19. Do I have COVID-19 or allergies? It's probably allergies -- not COVID-19 -- if you don't have a fever but your eyes are itchy, you're sneezing, and you have a runny nose. How ...

    Read More
  • Coronavirus: Is It Safe to Get Deliveries?

    With more than 50% of the U.S. population living under stay-at-home restrictions, companies that deliver food and household goods are inundated with orders. As they scramble to meet the demand, you may wonder if ordering in puts you or the people making your deliveries at risk. The Question of Worker ...

    Read More
  • How to Weather Social Isolation

    Social distancing has become the new normal, with one-third of Americans now under stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, but experts say that level of isolation can be hard on your health. "We don't know for sure what the long-term health outcomes of widespread forced social isolation ...

    Read More
  • The Power of Hand-Washing to Prevent Coronavirus

    The single most important piece of advice health experts can give to help us stay safe from COVID-19 is this one: Wash your hands. "In the final analysis, it's the hands. The hands are the connecting piece," says Elizabeth Scott, PhD. Scott co-directs the Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community ...

    Read More
  • Calming Your Child's Coronavirus Fears

    Schools are closing. Sports and other activities have been cancelled. Everything is changing. In the midst of this chaos, how do parents keep kids from stressing too much? "For families, this is truly now hitting home," said psychologist Robin Gurwitch, from Duke University and the Center for Child and ...

    Read More
  • Fillings

    Frequently asked questions: dental fillings Are dental amalgams safe? Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to amalgam? Is it true that dental amalgams have been banned in other countries? Is there a filling material that matches tooth color? If my tooth doesn't hurt and my filling is still in ...

    Read More