What Is Fluoride Exactly?
When many of us think of fluoride, we often think about toothpaste, tap water and even the family dentist!
Fluoride is actually a natural mineral that is found in the earth’s crust and that nature itself uses in many of its elements and life forms.
Why Do We Need Fluoride?
Fluoride is essential in preventing tooth decay and cavities. It works to harden the enamel and other minerals on growing and existing teeth, making them much less susceptible to decay and disease. This means fewer trips to the dentist and fewer fillings and extractions!
When we eat and drink, the acid in our mouths breaks down the hard parts of our teeth, meaning they become victims of decay. Fluoride is fundamental in preventing this from happening and in stopping the acids in our mouths from harming our teeth in the long run.
Fluoride is also very important for children, who need this vital mineral to ensure their teeth are strong and healthy before they actually emerge above the gum line.
How Do We Get Fluoride?
On an everyday basis, we generally receive fluoride in two forms:
- Toothpaste – Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride; if not, consider switching to a fluoride toothpaste, especially if you have children. If you are unsure, simply check the label, as this should tell you how much fluoride the toothpaste contains.
- Tap Water – Since fluoride is a natural mineral, it is often left in our water; this means when we drink tap water, our teeth benefit from fluoride! A recent study by the Australian Dental Association* showed that fluoridated water is beneficial to the dental health of all Australians.
You can check whether your tap water is fluoridated by contacting your local water supplier. If you live in the country and produce your own tap water (e.g. with a rainwater tank), consider having your water professionally analysed to check the fluoride levels.
Fluoride at Dental Checkups & Cleans
Although getting fluoride from toothpaste and tap water is important, this may not be enough to completely prevent your teeth from decaying.
When you go for your regular checkups and cleans at the dentist, your dentist will usually also apply a special Fluoride Treatment to your teeth. Each fluoride treatment is quick and gentle and simply involves the dentist smoothing the fluoride over your teeth.
If you are unsure if you are getting enough fluoride, be sure to talk to your dentist during your checkups and cleans and they will be able to advise you if your teeth are fluoride happy.
Our expert dentists at Camden, Macarthur and Wollondilly can help you determine if your teeth are getting enough fluoride. Book an appointment with us today or phone (02) 4648 0909.