Fluoride is a mineral that is found throughout nature. Its properties for strengthening tooth enamel were discovered in the 1930’s when it was learned that people who lived in areas with naturally fluoridated water had fewer cavities than in other areas. It strengthens the enamel in teeth that have not yet erupted and can help remineralize the enamel in teeth that have already come in. As you continue to ingest fluoride, it becomes a part of your saliva, and continually strengthens your teeth. Fluoride is often added to local water supplies, and is a key ingredient in most toothpastes and many mouthwashes.
If children have too much fluoride before their teeth erupt, those teeth can have spots, which is a condition known as fluorosis. This condition is often unnoticeable and is cosmetic in nature. It can be easily corrected by your dentist. But, if taken in the proper amounts, fluoride is safe, and is effective for keeping your teeth healthy and strong. If you need additional fluoride, your dentist can give you fluoride supplements to take, give a you a fluoride treatment in the office, or prescribe a fluoride rinse.
In most cases, if you are using a fluoride toothpaste, and your water supply is fluoridated, you are probably getting enough fluoride. However, if you are concerned about your fluoride levels, you should meet with our dentist, Dr. Dan Clagett at Clagett Cosmetic and Family Dentistry in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, by calling 270-769-3306. Normally, fluoride treatments are given to children and older adults, but our dentist can evaluate your teeth to see if you need to supplement your intake.