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Although preventable, the most common chronic condition among children and adults is cavities, also known as tooth decay. This Wednesday Wisdom, I will discuss a simple and effective way to protect your teeth from cavities.
Of course, a consistent, good oral hygiene routine is top on the list in cavity prevention, but there is something as simple as drinking water that will help prevent cavities. The use of fluoride is one of the best ways to protect your teeth from cavities.
Yes, there is a lot of controversy as to whether fluoride is “good” for you. However, as a licensed professional who has witnessed for over ten years how well this product protects teeth, I would say the benefits outweigh the “bad.” Like any chemical product, you must follow the directions and use accordingly.
I am not one of those professionals that tries to beat you down to accept my recommendations. My approach in clinic is to give all the information I can to help my patients make an informed decision. I even give them the opportunity to use their dental degree and license from Google to assist with their decision. A week later they are back in my chair giving me consent to proceed with treatment. I love informed consent. I believe that is where many providers mess up when it comes to treatment acceptance. Many have the I AM THE PROFESSIONAL HEAR ME ROAR syndrome; thereby, missing the opportunity to form a trusting relationship with their patients.
Either way, take what you need from this post and leave the rest. What I say here does not replace anything YOUR dental health provider suggests because they know you far better than me.
WHAT IS FLUORIDE?
Fluoride is a natural element found at some level in most water sources. It is derived from the chemical element fluorine, which is one of the 20 elements in the earth’s crusts. The cavity fighter, Fluoride, is formed when fluorine is combined with an element such as sodium.
HOW FLUORIDE PROTECTS YOUR TEETH.
Fluoride helps strengthen and protect tooth enamel, the outer surface of your teeth. Enamel is made of calcium and phosphate. Your natural cavity fighter, saliva also contains calcium and phosphate.
When you eat sugary drinks or foods rich in carbohydrate, the bacteria in your mouth feasts on these foods producing an acid that attacks your tooth enamel. This attack strips your enamel of calcium and phosphates making your teeth more susceptible to cavities. Your saliva recoats your enamel adding calcium and phosphate back to your enamel.
Adding fluoride to saliva via water, toothpaste, or mouthwash, allows fluoride to be absorbs into your enamel. Once inside your enamel, fluoride combines with the calcium and phosphate creating fluoroapatite. Fluoroapatite is a strong fighter that is more resistant to decay and protects your teeth.
You can get fluoride from your community water system, fluoridated toothpaste, mouthwash, or from your dental health professional. Continue to consume a diet that is nutritionally balanced, brush and floss two times daily, and keep regular visits with your dental health professional.