Why We Love Fluoride
At Kalil & Kress, we’re big fans of fluoride. Now, this can sound nerdy, kind of like being a fan of xenon or manganese. But there’s a reason we’re fond of this chemical ion of the element fluorine — it’s the ultimate superhero defender of the teeth!
At Kalil & Kress, we apply fluoride to all or our younger patients, as it strengthens their teeth during their cavity-prone teenage years. We can also provide fluoride treatments for adults upon request.
Minerals are the key
Enamel, the protective outer layer of the visible portion of your teeth, consists of closely packed crystals. Every day all day, the enamel loses and gains minerals in processes called demineralization and remineralization, respectively.
Demineralization can point to bacteria as the culprit. Bacteria exist everywhere, but the bacteria in the plaque on our teeth feed on sugar and other carbohydrates in our mouth, and they produce acids as a byproduct. These acids dissolve crystals in your tooth enamel — demineralization. In most cases, these losses are counterbalanced by remineralization, where minerals in the saliva, such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate, are deposited back into the enamel. If you have more loss than gain, that equals tooth decay.
How does fluoride act like a superhero?
Fluoride plays the role of tooth enamel superhero, but it doesn’t wear a fancy costume. When children eat or drink fluoride in small doses, it enters the bloodstream and becomes part of their teeth. Swallowed fluoride also can enter the teeth from the outside through the saliva. When teeth are being defended by fluoride, they are far less susceptible to damage from acids created by bacteria.
In addition to ingesting fluoride in water and such, we apply fluoride directly to the teeth in fluoride-containing toothpaste, rinses, and the like. Plus, dentists such as Dr. Kalil and Dr. Kress provide fluoride treatments. Fluoride applied to the outside of the teeth helps to speed remineralization. These treatments applied in our office are strong enough to disrupt the production of acids by bacteria.
Fluoride occurs naturally in water and some foods. Most municipalities add small amounts of fluoride to the water supply to help young teeth. It is also available as a supplement in areas that believe fluoridation of the local water supply is a communist conspiracy, and would rather have tooth decay than submit to this hidden menace. These misperceptions fostered by ignorance are unfortunate, as fluoride is thoroughly proven to help prevent decay in children’s teeth.
If your children are between the ages of six months and 16 years old, we’ll provide fluoride treatments to strengthen their enamel and help prevent decay while their teeth are developing.
If you have any questions about fluoride or want to make your appointment for your next cleaning and exam, call us at 603-880-7004.