Will fluoride whiten your teeth?
We all know that fluoride helps to strengthen and protect our teeth, but what is it exactly and how does it help our teeth? Fluoride is a safe, effective way to protect your teeth from advancing tooth decay, cavities, and acts as a whitener. Fluoride treatments are offered after every dental cleaning appointment at Martin Dentistry. We use the newest type of fluoride in a varnish form. It is an extended release of fluoride, calcium, and phosphate, that is formulated to stay in contact with the tooth surface depositing acid-resistant minerals. Consider having a fluoride treatment at your next dental cleaning appointment to benefit your smile.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. It is found in water and in many foods like grapes, potatoes, crab, shrimp, black tea, and coffee. The primary source for fluoride intake is in community fluoridated water, so beverages and food processed with fluoridated water obviously are sources of intake as well. Several areas of the United States have natural flouride levels far above what is added to community water supplies.
What does fluoride actually do?
Fluoride helps reduce the formation of cavities in teeth by coating the outer layer of enamel and strengthening it. This process, also known as “remineralization,” is where lost minerals in the enamel are replaced with the fluoride mixed with other minerals in our saliva. This makes the tooth stronger and less prone to cavities. Fluoride also kills the bacteria that cause decay.
Is fluoride safe for children?
Children under the age of six benefit from systemic fluoride the most; this is fluoride that is ingested. Systemic fluoride helps with the development of teeth. After the teeth have grown into the mouth, topical fluoride in toothpaste, mouthwash, and fluoride treatments help to keep enamel strong and resilient.
Just as we know that children benefit from fluoride, adults do as well. Bacteria is present in everyone’s mouth, and when sugars are consumed, these bacteria form acids that break down enamel. Acidic foods and beverages can start the enamel to break down as well. Fluoride helps to remineralize the enamel through a chemical process.
Is fluoride good for sensitive teeth?
As adults, our teeth have been exposed to a lot of acids over our lifetimes. Most adults also have at least a small amount of gum recession that exposes the root surface of teeth. The root is covered in a very soft material that is porous and sensitive to temperature. Fluoride can block these sensations as well as protect from root decay that can spread quickly.
Adults also can suffer from dry mouth. Lack of saliva is a major cause of adult tooth decay. Most medications have the side effect of drying out salivary flow. Saliva is the natural cleansing for teeth and also helps to diffuse the acidic environment that breaks down enamel. Once again, fluoride will protect the teeth when saliva is minimal.