Keeping your teeth and gums in top condition means not only brushing and flossing regularly but avoiding sugary foods and drinks. However, even when you stay on top of your dental health and avoid those sugary foods, your mouth still may not be as healthy as you think. You might be suffering from a fluoride deficiency. Fluoride helps maintain your dental health and prevent tooth decay. Without it, your teeth are at risk for cavities and other issues. Read on to learn more about what fluoride is and how it works to improve your dental health.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride comes from the element fluorine, which can be found in the Earth’s crust as the fluoride ion. When involved in dental health, fluoride acts to prevent tooth decay.
Tooth enamel is constantly undergoing the processes of demineralization and remineralization. Demineralization happens when teeth enamel loses minerals, and regaining those minerals is remineralization. The saliva in your mouth works to transport fluoride back into the enamel and help the remineralization process. When your enamel loses too many minerals, tooth decay occurs.
Signs of Fluoride Deficiency
Tooth decay is the primary red flag for fluoride deficiency. Bacteria found in plaque that collects on teeth produces acid with the help of sugars and carbohydrates. These acids then wear away tooth enamel.
Most communities fluoridate the town’s drinking water supply. The Centers for Disease Control reports that consuming fluoridated water helps reduce the risk of decay by 25 percent in both children and adults.
The Effect On Your Overall Health
When experiencing fluoride deficiency, tooth decay is your first concern. However, if left untreated, tooth decay can lead to more problems. Rotting, decaying teeth can be associated with plaque development, which can be related to gum disease.
Because gum disease often goes undiagnosed, a person’s overall health may be deteriorating without their knowledge. Additionally, the bacteria that accumulate due to gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause clogged arteries, heart disease, and strokes.
Fluoride is just one of many tools at your disposal to keep your dental health in prime condition. The basis for good dental health is always brushing twice a day with a proper brush and technique and flossing between every tooth once a day. Of course, you should also maintain regular dental checkups so your dentist can keep an eye on any potential issues. If you believe you have a fluoride deficiency, your dentist can diagnose it and prescribe one of several treatments. The primary fluoride treatments are:
- Topical: you can find toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride and use them at any time in the comfort of your home.
- Bloodstream: this treatment includes fluoride naturally consumed from water, foods, and supplements that can access your body via the bloodstream.
- Prescription supplements: only doctors or dentists can prescribe fluoride prescriptions.
- Professional treatment: a dentist will apply a gel, varnish, or foam fluoride solution.
These treatments can help you restore your enamel to its fullest health and continue to protect against tooth decay.
You Can Trust Olney Dental for All of Your Dental Care Needs
For all of your oral care questions and concerns, Olney Dental has the expertise and professionalism to get them the answers they need. Olney Dental is ready to supply you with expert service in a professional environment. Schedule an appointment online today! For more information on how we can give your family the best dentist experience available, give us a call at (301) 250-1057 or contact us online. For more dental tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.