You’ve probably heard about fluoride and how it’s good for your teeth. But what is it, exactly? And how can it help your teeth? Fluoride is a mineral that can be found naturally in some foods and drinks, such as black tea, grape juice and wine, blue crab, shrimp, and potatoes. It’s also commonly added to public sources of water, so tap water will also contain fluoride. The mineral is absorbed into the body and helps to strengthen existing teeth enamel and even repair damaged enamel. Protecting the tooth enamel this way helps to prevent tooth decay. It’s commonly recommended for children as it’s very beneficial for developing teeth, but it is also vital for the health of adult teeth.
Certain conditions develop in adults that can increase the risk of decay. These include:
Both adults and children can benefit from receiving fluoride treatments from their dentist. The most common type is applied as a gel, foam, or varnish directly to the tooth surface. The treatment is quick, non-invasive, and requires no special preparation. It can be applied in conjunction with a normal check-up every six months.
Besides getting fluoride treatments at your dentist office, you can also add other products that contain the mineral to your daily dental routine. These include brushing with fluoride toothpaste, using mouth rinses that contain fluoride, and taking supplements in either liquid or tablet form. Be sure to consult with your dentist before adding any of these products to your daily routine. He or she will be able to assess your health and dental history and tell you how much fluoride is best for you.