Fluoride for Healthier Teeth
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay. In children under six years of age, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also helps speed remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults.
When water fluoridation first began in the 1940’s, dentists believed that fluoride’s main benefit came from ingesting fluoride during the early years of life. This belief held sway for over 40 years. However, it is now acknowledged by dental researchers and according to the Centers for Disease Control, fluoride’s predominant effect is topical (direct contact with teeth) and not systemic (from ingestion). We in Wichita do not put fluoride in our water system. Twice-a-year, at your professional cleaning appointment, high concentration topical fluoride varnish provides high concentrations of fluoride applied by your Dental Professional.
Daily, low concentration home fluoride gels or pastes offer prescription strength low concentration fluoride, on a daily basis, which is needed to enhance the remineralization process of the tooth enamel. Suggest Source: Horowitz, H.S., Alternative Methods of Delivering Fluorides. Dent. Hygiene 57 (5): 37-43, May 1983.
What is remineralization and how does it work?
The process of tooth decay (acid attack) causes demineralization or loss of minerals (mainly calcium) from the tooth surface. With the aid of FLUORIDE, minerals can be re-incorporated back into the lesion through remineralization. Both the DE-mineralization and RE-mineralization processes are continuously ongoing around the tooth. When RE-mineralization overcomes the DE-mineralization process, decay (cavities) can actually be reversed and the lesion repaired. The RE-mineralization process also significantly increases the size of the enamel crystals. These larger crystals are more resistant to acid attack than even natural enamel.