A naturally-occurring mineral called fluoride has helped keep tooth enamel bright and strong for decades. Applied topically through toothpastes and mouth rinses, or systemically through water in municipal supplies, fluoride hardens the rock-hard matrix outermost in tooth structure. Hutchinson dentist, Dr. Grant D. Ringler, teaches patients young and old the importance of fluoride in their day to day lives and in dental treatments.
How important is fluoride?
For the answer to that question, just ask your child’s teeth. From age 6 months, when that first tooth erupts, through age 16 years or so, when adult tooth development finishes, teeth require help from good dietary habits, routine dental exams and cleanings and fluoride to come in strong and stay strong. In addition, adult teeth benefit from fluoride because of the daily wear and tear and the constant mineralization and de-mineralization the outer layer of tooth structure experiences.
Fluoride protects against tooth decay, too. The oral bacteria that secrete acids on tooth surfaces etch teeth so deeply that cavities form. Fluoride strengthens enamel so it resists that acid attack. So, in addition to daily brushing and flossing, plus routine dental exams and cleanings every 6 months, your dentist in Hutchinson recommends attention to fluoride intake and application.
How to get more fluoride
Most municipal water supplies (a full ⅔ in the U.S.) carry fluoride to businesses and residences in their areas. In fact, because fluorine occurs in soils and rocks, groundwater and other naturally-occurring substances combine with it to create fluoride in spring water and other sources. So, drinking plenty of water each day is a great way for young and old to get this beneficial mineral.
Also, many over the counter and prescription toothpastes and mouth rinses add fluoride to tooth surfaces when used consistently. For the youngest of children, your Hutchinson dentist recommends just a small smear of fluoride toothpaste.
As a routine part of children’s dentistry, Dr. Ringler and his associate dentists, Dr. Melissa Barnhart and Dr. Justin Barnhart, recommend fluoride varnishes in addition to plastic sealants applied to tooth surfaces, particularly on young molars. Adults enjoy anti-decay benefits from fluoride, too, and the mineral helps with tooth and root sensitivity common to older teeth.
Some fluoride preparations are available as topical gels or foams.
Prevention is the best dental treatment your Hutchinson dentists offer patients of all ages. Learn more about how a healthy lifestyle, good at-home and in-office dental care and fluoride can help you and yours keep healthy, bright smiles for a lifetime. Contact Grant D. Ringer DDS for your routine check-up and cleaning. Ask him about how you can use fluoride to strengthen your teeth.