Fluoride
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What Does Fluoride Do In Protecting Your Teeth?

Since many years caries has been seen as a multifactorial disease caused by a complex interplay of bacteria, diet, and the host itself. Preventive philosophies have been proposed based on the treatment itself of the disease, and not the sequel of the disease (the cavities). Dental caries can occur only if the necessary factor is present: BIOFILM accumulation on the teeth. Not only this but fermentable carbohydrates must also be present in a restricted environment so that the acids produced by the carbohydrates induce mineral loss in the underlying tooth structure. 

To combat such an attack on the tooth structure SALIVA AND FLUORIDE plays an important role. Both have significant positive effects on the process of ceasing caries formation. Saliva prevents biofilm production on the tooth surface and buffers the effect of an acid that causes mineral loss. On the other end, fluoride enhances mineral precipitation back on the teeth.

The fluoride can exert its effect if it is free and soluble in the oral environment. Physiochemically, fluoride increases the rate of mineralization by converting into a less soluble mineral phase “Fluorapatite”.

Sources of fluoride:

  • Small amounts: Fruits, Vegetables, cereals
  • Rich sources: Seafood and Tea Leaves

Chief sources of fluoride: 

  • Water (fluoridated water)
  • Fluoridated salt and Milk 
  • Topical toothpaste

Teeth and bones have the highest concentration of fluorides

Communal water fluoridation is the most effective and cost-friendly public health measure. Fluoridated with five to seven times school water fluoridation helps in the reduction of caries formation.

Other sources: 

  • Fluoride toothpaste
  • Fluoride mouth rinses
  • Fluoride lozenges
  • Fluoridated milk
  • Fluoridated salt

Mechanism of anti-caries action: 

  • Increased enamel resistance to acid attack
  • Remineralization
  • Antibacterial effect of fluoride

Fluoridated toothpaste when used in children must be used in a pea-sized amount, As there is the possibility of swallowing.

Fluoride toxicity:

Dental fluorosis: an excessive amount of fluoride intake during tooth development causes permanent white to brown spots on the tooth enamel which looks aesthetically displeasing.

 Skeletal fluorosis: increased deposition of Fluorapatite mineral in the bones and joints results in abnormal structure and poor quality of the bone. Also causes an increased risk of bone fractures.

The takeaway

Fluoride is a natural mineral that prevents cavities. It restores minerals to tooth enamel and prevents harmful bacteria from building up in the mouth. Overdosing on fluoride can cause negative complications.

Oral health greatly affects other bodily functions and overall health. To take good care of your mouth:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time.
  • Floss once per day.
  • Avoid sugary snacks and beverages.
  • Don’t smoke.

Visit your nearby dental clinic at least once per year.

If you have any problems related to gums or teeth, please visit Pathak dental clinic.