Fluoride is a natural mineral which plays an important role in dental health. Not only does it help to reduce your risk of cavities, but it also helps to keep your teeth strong and healthy. In this blog post, we will be sharing some insight into the importance of fluoride, where it is found and how you can ensure that you’re getting enough.
What is Fluoride, and How does it Benefit Oral Health?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which is commonly found within food, air, seawater, fresh water, plants and toothpaste. Fluoride is an important component of the remineralization process, which is what keeps our teeth and bones healthy and strong. When fluoride, phosphate and calcium combine, they work together to strengthen the protective layer of enamel on the teeth. This provides us with a natural defence against tooth decay. People who do not consume an adequate amount of fluoride may show signs of enamel erosion or weakness, which in turn may increase their risk of experiencing tooth decay.
Best Sources of Fluoride
Whilst traces of fluoride can be found within natural foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains, this is not enough to support good dental health. The best and most common source of fluoride is tap water, with water fluoridation programs operating in all states and territories of Australia. In NSW, the concentration of fluoride is set at 1 milligram per litre (mg/L).
It is also advisable to use a toothpaste which contains fluoride. The majority of toothpastes sold in Australia contain fluoride, however it is worth checking the ingredients list to make sure. You may wish to also use a mouthwash containing fluoride to further support your dental health.
Fluoride treatments can also be administered quickly and easily by your dentist, with the option of a rinse, foam, gel or varnish depending upon your preference.
Why is Fluoride Added to Water?
Only small amounts of fluoride are found within natural water sources. With world governments and medical professionals in agreement on the benefits of water fluoridation, it is common practice to artificially add fluoride to the water supply. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, “fluoridation of drinking water is an effective way to ensure people across the community are exposed to fluoride and can benefit from its preventative role in tooth decay, regardless of age, gender or socioeconomic status.”
Whilst the majority of the country’s water supply is fluoridated, it is worth checking with your local council to ensure that this is the case. If you rely on tank or bore water for your drinking supply, you may wish to discuss alternative ways of getting enough fluoride with your dentist.
Excess Fluoride Can Cause Dental Fluorosis
Excessive consumption of fluoride can lead to the development of dental fluorosis, whereby the teeth show signs of discolouration or brown ‘spotting’ on the enamel. This typically only occurs amongst young children who take fluoride tablets in addition to drinking fluoridated water. Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic condition which results in permanent teeth discolouration, but it is easily avoidable. If your water supply is fluoridated, this is usually sufficient for your child’s developing teeth. Your dentist will be happy to offer further advice regarding fluoride, toothpaste options and brushing techniques to help your child maintain optimal dental health.
Due for a Check-Up? Contact Sydney Park Dental Today
Fluoride is an important mineral which can help you maintain a healthy smile for life. Been a while since your last check-up? Call 02 8084 7170 to book an appointment at Sydney Park Dental today.