If you’re like many people in Hendricks County, you know brushing your teeth is important to your dental health. But you may wonder if there is anything else you can do to make sure your teeth stay healthy. Yes, there is! You can make sure you’re using fluoride in your toothpaste, getting it in your diet through foods and water, and/or, getting fluoride treatments at Danville Family Dentistry, if needed. This can help prevent, and sometimes even reverse, tooth decay.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride comes from fluorine, which is a natural mineral found in the earth’s crust. Some foods and water supplies contain the mineral and many communities add it to their water supply. The American Dental Association, the World Health Organization, and the American Medical Association endorse the use of fluoride in water supplies, because of its effect on tooth decay.

How Does It Work?

The outer layer of the tooth is called enamel. It’s made of closely packed mineral crystals. Every day, minerals inside these crystals are gained or lost. When minerals are lost, it’s called demineralization. When they’re gained, it’s called remineralization.

Demineralization is caused by acid-producing bacteria in the plaque on your teeth. The acids dissolve crystals in your tooth enamel. Remineralization occurs when minerals in your saliva, like fluoride, calcium and phosphate, are deposited back into your tooth enamel. When your teeth lose too many minerals without enough replacement, you can get tooth decay.

Fluoride can prevent cavities in two ways. In children, fluoride enters their bloodstream when they eat or drink it in small doses. It helps to harden the enamel on their baby and adult teeth before the teeth emerge. In adults, the mineral continues to harden their teeth’s enamel. When the enamel is strengthened, acids can’t damage the teeth as easily.

How Can You Get What Your Teeth Need?

There are several ways you can get fluoride:

  • You can brush your teeth with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. However, parents should supervise their children’s use of fluoride toothpaste to ensure the proper amount is used and to prevent unnecessary swallowing.
  • You can check to see if your water supply contains fluoride. While some Hendricks County residents may believe fluoridated water is hazardous to your health, you can rest assured that all community water-fluoridation systems are checked daily to ensure safe levels (0.7 to 1.2 parts per million) are maintained.
  • You can receive fluoride treatments at Danville Family Dentistry. Dr. Jon Erickson will apply a thin layer of fluoride varnish to your teeth. This varnish is a sticky yellow or orange substance that hardens quickly. You may be advised to wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking. Plus, you shouldn’t brush or floss for at least 6 hours. Although Dr. Erickson may advise waiting until the next morning.
  • If you’re have many cavities or have a high risk of cavities, you may be advised to take fluoride supplements. Fluoride supplements are available in liquid or tablets. Dr. Erickson will prescribe them if they’re needed.

Fluoride is an important nutrient to help you have strong, healthy teeth. Therefore, you need to make sure you’re getting enough in your diet, water, or through dental products and treatments.If you’re not sure if you’re getting enough, ask Dr. Erickson!

If you don’t have dental insurance, Danville Family Dentistry offers our Smile Savings Plan. For a low annual fee, qualified patients can receive 2 professional dental cleanings, 2 professional oral exams, and routinely scheduled X-rays for a year. Plus, they’ll receive a 15% discount on other services, like fluoride treatments, provided by our office.

Contact our Hendricks County office to schedule an appointment.

Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.