Maybe it’s because we work in oral health at Carolina Family Dental that we notice these things, but have you noticed when archeologists find new skeletons, the teeth are often relatively sound? No fillings. No caps. No need for them, mostly. Why? Well, it’s largely because their diets were low in sugar compared to our typical modern diet. In fact, if it wasn’t for the administration of fluoride into most water supplies, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and then the benefits of professional fluoride treatment, we would be in worse shape than our ancestors.
Fluoride is an ion of the element Fluorine. Being a negatively charged ion, it’s made to bond with positively charged elements like sodium. The products of those chemical bonds are used in everything from Teflon to steel products. With fluorine being one of the most prevalent elements, and there being many positively charged ions to bond with, fluoride is available to nearly everyone. It can be found naturally in nearly every body of water in the world. It begs the question then, why do we need fluoride in our water supply and oral care? Unfortunately, there isn’t enough native fluoride to counter the damage we do to our teeth today on average. We need help, so we add the mineral to our oral products and services like fluoride treatment. (Check out this CDC webpage to see if fluoride is added to your water supply.)
Fluoride helps maintain and repair the integrity of teeth. The sugars from the food we eat and drink also serve as food for some bacteria. The acid produced by the bacteria then erodes our teeth, starting with the enamel, our first line of defense. Fluoride:
Mitigates the growth of bacteria that produces the damaging acid
Slows the effects of the acid on the teeth
Remineralizes enamel, restoring the protective shield on the teeth
Reverses the damage by strengthening the teeth
Since there are so many forms and sources of fluoride available, scientists in the dental field use several depending on the function. Overall, the use of fluoride in dental care, including professional fluoride treatment, correlates to a 43 percent decrease in cavities according to the CDC.
Between the wear and tear of the normal use of teeth plus things like grinding during sleep and the erosion caused by bacteria, teeth are vulnerable to significant damage. What our fluoride treatment does is put a concentrated coating of fluoride on the teeth. For a surprisingly low cost, the benefits are impressive. Fluoride treatment is especially recommended for people with:
Caps, Braces, or Bridges
A History of Cavities
Few developments have improved oral health more than the administration of fluoride. We too often take for granted our mouths full of strong teeth, not realizing that with our modern American diets, those teeth could be so much worse were it not for fluoride.
We would love to see you at Carolina Family Dental for a consultation and to chat about what fluoride treatment might do for you. We also love to answer questions from our contact page, so fire away!