You may have heard your dentist tell you that fluoride is important for your dental health, but do you know why it is important? Here are the reasons the fluoride mineral found in community water systems, toothpaste, and mouthwashes helps to improve the health of your smile.
One of the most important uses of fluoride occurs when it helps children grow strong, healthy teeth. Even when a child is only a few months old, their permanent teeth are already starting to develop in their jaw bone. These teeth will be surrounded by enamel, which is the hardest tissues in the body and the main defense teeth have against decay.
When a child ingests fluoride, then their body uses it to develop strong, hard, cavity-resistant enamel. The fluoride concentrates in the growing teeth to help the enamel develop before these teeth even erupt. Children who do not live in an area where fluoride is added to the water are often given fluoride tablets that help them grow a healthy smile which can last a lifetime.
Fluoride not only benefits children when ingested, but it can also help adults have great dental health when it is applied to the surface of their teeth. Fluoride not only strengthens teeth and repairs early stages of tooth decay, but it helps to rebuild tooth structure.
The plaque bacteria in your mouth produce acids that demineralize tooth enamel. The body, however, fights back by bathing these teeth with the calcium and phosphorus that rebuild tooth enamel. This remineralization becomes even more effective when fluoride is present, because it helps the minerals become even stronger as they rebuild enamel.