You may have learned about fluoride when your science class discussed the periodic table of elements. But beyond your school, fluoride can be found in many food items and will play a major role in your oral health.
Some people may worry that the consumption of fluoride can have side effects and try to avoid it, despite its advantages in keeping your smile healthy. Your dentist can alleviate this concern and tell you the truth about what fluoride can offer your teeth. Read on to learn more about fluoride and the dental benefits that come with this mineral.
What Is Fluoride?
As mentioned, fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs and appears in many of the foods and beverages you consume, including tap water. When you consume fluoride, it will absorb into your teeth.
When this occurs, the mineral will strengthen the structure of your tooth enamel, the outer layer of the tooth. This will help the teeth resist damage from plaque and other harmful residues as well as surface stains. Therefore, fluoride will help you maintain the gorgeous look of your smile as well as its health.
Why Will a Dentist Recommend Fluoride Treatment?
If you receive fluoride in your teeth naturally, you may wonder why a dentist may suggest specified fluoride treatments in their office. This is because while durable, your tooth enamel can wear down over time thanks to poor oral habits or aging. When enamel erodes, it cannot regenerate.
Your dentist can replace weakened or thinned enamel with restorative dental solutions. But they can also help you prevent enamel loss by strengthening the enamel that remains on your teeth.
The dentist can apply a gel, paste, or rinse containing fluoride to your teeth. The mineral will absorb into the teeth and give your smile extra protection. This can be completed within one session with your dentist, often during a check-up appointment.
Does Fluoride Have Side Effects?
Some people may feel uncomfortable with the idea of a mineral absorbing into their teeth. They may worry about potential side effects that fluoride can have on their smile and the rest of their body.
In large amounts, fluoride can be toxic. But the natural amount of fluoride in foods and drinks will not reach anywhere near these toxic levels. So you do not have to feel stressed about fluoride affecting other parts of your body.
With fluoride dental treatments, you will also not receive a toxic level of this mineral. Your dentist closely monitors this process and will perform an oral health evaluation to make sure this type of treatment will work best with your smile. A dentist will tell you that the oral health advantages of fluoride will outweigh the tiny chance of a risk.
Consult with your dentist to learn if fluoride can help you achieve your smile goals. They may have alternative preventative care to recommend for your unique smile instead. They might also suggest using toothpaste or mouthwash that contains fluoride at home for further smile protection.