Strong enamel is one of the keys to good dental health. If your enamel is strong, you'll be less prone to cavities and tooth decay, and you stand a better chance of keeping all of your teeth as you age. In order to have strong enamel, you need to make sure your teeth are exposed to enough fluoride. Here's a closer look at fluoride and how to ensure you're getting enough.
What is fluoride and why do your teeth require it?
Your tooth enamel is made primarily from a substance called hydroxyapatite. This substance contains a number of minerals – mostly calcium and phosphate. When your body needs more minerals in the bloodstream or for other tissues, it tends to leech them out of the tooth enamel. When you are taking in enough of these minerals, however, your body should not leech them out of your teeth. In fact, it should be laying down more of these minerals within your tooth enamel. However, this process can only happen in the presence of fluoride.
Fluoride acts as a sort-of go-between, enabling your teeth to take up these minerals into the enamel. Without enough fluoride, your enamel will grow weak, and you'll be more prone to cavities. Fluoride is just another natural mineral found in the earth's crust. It's not a scary synthetic toxin or additive.
How do you make sure your teeth are exposed to enough fluoride?
It's not really eating fluoride that you need to be concerned with. Your teeth just need to be exposed to it – you don't really need to digest and absorb it to have the positive effects. So, while fluoride-rich foods like grape juice, spinach, and carrots are good to include in your diet, you can also expose your teeth to fluoride by:
- Drinking water that has been fortified with fluoride. Most municipal tap water is fluoridated, but you'll have to check your bottled water labels.
- Brushing with fluoride toothpaste. Some all-natural toothpastes do not contain fluoride, so read your labels carefully.
- Using a fluoride rinse. These are sold at pharmacies and can be used after you brush.
- Undergoing fluoride treatments at your dentist's office. These treatments expose your teeth to a large amount of fluoride at once and may be recommended if your enamel is particularly weak.
To learn more about fluoride and how it can benefit your teeth, speak to your dentist. They can look at your enamel and let you know if you can benefit from more fluoride exposure. To learn more, contact a dental clinic like Louisville Family Dental.