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Why is fluoride important for dental health?

You probably know that fluoride is good for your teeth. But do you know why it is good for you, and how to consume it?

Why we need fluoride

When acids and bacteria in food and beverages interact with your teeth, your enamel starts to break down. This causes both cosmetic and internal problems with the tooth, and can jeopardize your oral health. Weakened enamel can lead to cavities and other oral diseases.

 Fluoride is a mineral that when applied to teeth helps strengthen enamel and resists this tooth decay, leading to fewer cavities and dental problems. Consuming fluoride is a key component of preventative dental care.

Where to find fluoride

In the past, dental disease was more prevalent, and tooth extraction was a common occurrence. The high rate of oral disease was partially due to a lack of fluoride in the regular diet. 

Then, in 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city to add fluoride to its public water system. The results were clear: people with access to the fluoridated water had fewer cavities and healthier teeth overall. Now, over 75% of Americans have access to fluoridated water systems. According to the ADA, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”

Today, you can find fluoride in your water, special kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash, and at your dentist’s office. Remember, bottled water doesn't typically contain fluoride. Drink from the tap for the most benefit to your smile.

Your dentist may suggest an in-office fluoride treatment for certain patients. Typically, the fluoride is applied as a gel or wash and kept on the teeth for several minutes before rinsing. It’s easy to get an extra level of protection with this quick treatment.

Fluoride is essential for everyone to keep their teeth strong and healthy. Contact your dentist if you have any more questions about keeping your teeth healthy with fluoride.

Dental Care
Jessica Levin
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