The Health Benefits of Fluoride

a young boy at the dentist receives a fluoride treatment

Most dental experts agree that fluoride is an essential part of good oral health. This naturally occurring chemical is found worldwide and is one of the most common ways that tooth decay is prevented. Here’s a look at how this wonder substance works and how you can include it in your own oral hygiene routine.

What does fluoride protect against?

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems that people encounter today. Thankfully, fluoride is one of the best ways to protect yourself against it. The tooth decay process occurs when bacteria from plaque and sugars occurring in your foods create acids that eat away at the outermost layer of your teeth. This layer is known as the enamel. While the demineralization process is an unavoidable part of life, it can cause severe damage to your teeth if left unchecked. This damage includes pain, infection, or even the loss of teeth.

Fluoride fights against tooth decay by protecting your teeth from cavity-causing bacteria. It also stops and even reverses the earliest stages of damage. This process is known as remineralization and is the easiest, and most inexpensive, way to fight against tooth decay.

How is fluoride administered?

A wide variety of fluoridated dental products is available on the market today. Obtaining sufficient levels of the substance to protect your teeth is easier than ever.

  • Floss
    Flossing is an important component of any good dental health routine. When you choose fluoridated floss, you’re only compounding its benefits. A toothbrush is rarely able to reach into the smallest cracks and crevices between your teeth. This leaves them open to the risk of tooth decay. Not only does fluoridated floss clean these hard-to-reach places, but it also provides these danger zones with much-needed remineralization.
  • Toothpaste
    There is no shortage of fluoride-based toothpastes available, and for good reason too—they’re one of the most effective means of protecting your teeth. In addition to protection from tooth decay, fluoridated toothpastes can often help people with tooth sensitivity, gingivitis, and plaque as well.
  • Mouthwash
    Most of the time brushing and flossing are enough to keep your teeth healthy, but if you really want the highest level of protection, you should include a fluoride-based mouthwash as well. Like toothpaste, most fluoridated mouthwashes protect against a whole range of issues besides tooth decay—including gum disease, which other methods of dental hygiene may not be able to address. For the best results, mouthwash should be used once daily after brushing and flossing.