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“A person can say a lot with just a smile, but they can say even more by hiding it. It’s easy to feel unwilling to show off your pearly whites if you’re not confident about your oral health. Most people understand the importance of brushing and flossing, and although it’s a good start, it’s not the end-all to healthy teeth. Treating your teeth with fluoride is, in many ways, a necessity to an oral care regimen. Here’s what you need to know if you’ve ever wondered: What does fluoride do to improve your mouth?
Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in the Earth’s crust, and today is added to many foods, public water supplies and oral care products. It’s even been referred to as “nature’s cavity fighter,” according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
As bacteria and sugars form acids that slowly lead to decay, fluoride works to strengthen the enamel, the protective surface around all your teeth, so they don’t succumb to it. Before a baby’s primary teeth start to emerge, their enamel is strengthened by the fluoride consumed through foods and beverages. When teeth break through the gums, these natural sources of fluoride help rebuild any weakened enamel as they grow in.
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay in adults as well as children. The fluoride found in toothpaste and mouthwash, known as topical fluoride, works on people of any age. Adults need to be careful if they only consume bottled water, though. Because many brands aren’t fluoridated, additional treatment might be needed alongside a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Discuss this concern and potential treatment options with your dentist to ensure your daily routine includes an adequate amount.
As may be the case in your community, water companies add fluoride to local water supplies as well. Just turn on your faucet and fill your cup for an instant fluoride treatment. Adding fluoride to a community’s water supply in this way has many benefits, as noted by the ADA: