You may remember fluoride as an element on the periodic table from your school days. But fluoride is famous for its oral health benefits too. Fluoride is a substance that occurs naturally, including in your drinking water. It can absorb into your teeth when you consume it, improving the look and feel of your smile.
But how does this substance help your teeth? And will fluoride give you any side effects? Read on to learn about the advantages that fluoride can offer to your smile.
What Are the Benefits of Fluoride?
Fluoride will occur naturally in certain foods and beverages. As you consume these items, your teeth will absorb this substance. It strengthens the tooth enamel, or the hard outer layer of the tooth by remineralizing it.
Over time, your enamel can erode due to consuming acidic foods or relaxing your oral hygiene. Once gone, the enamel will not regrow. However, fluoride can fortify the remaining enamel. This will make your teeth better able to resist damage from plaque and other harmful residues.
You can reduce your risk of forming cavities thanks to strengthening from fluoride. On the same note, you can get fewer surface stains on your teeth this way.
What Is a Fluoride Dental Treatment?
You can receive these fluoride benefits regularly in the foods and drinks you consume, especially tap water. But if you have diagnosed enamel loss or have a high risk of cavity formation, your dentist may suggest more targeted preventative dental care.
Your dentist may give you a fluoride treatment during your routine dental cleaning. This will involve applying a gel, foam, or rinse directly to your teeth that contains fluoride. The substance will then boost the strength of your remaining tooth enamel, reducing the chances of developing dental problems.
You may also use toothpaste or mouthwash at home that contains fluoride. Consult with your dentist to find a treatment plan that suits your unique dental needs.
Are There Health Risks with Fluoride?
Some people may worry that fluoride treatments will give them uncomfortable side effects. They may also feel concerned that applying a substance to the teeth may result in adverse reactions throughout the rest of their bodies.
In high amounts, fluoride can be toxic. But fluoride’s natural occurrence in food and the targeted treatment a dentist can offer will not give you these toxic levels. So you do not have to worry about hurting the rest of your body with fluoride. The advantages will far outweigh any risks.
A fluoride treatment also will not result in side effects. In fact, uncomfortable conditions like tooth sensitivity may be reduced after fluoride treatment.
This is because the fluoride will rebuild weakened enamel that previously allowed stimuli to touch sensitive inner layers of the tooth. If you still worry about fluoride’s impact on your health, ask your dentist during your next regular appointment. They can provide you with more preventative dental care tips at that time as well.