You may have noticed the word “fluoride” on your toothpaste or mouthwash container. What is fluoride and why is it important for your teeth? Fluoride is a mineral that can make a big difference for your dental health. Here’s how.
Fluoride is a Mineral
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in many foods, but many people don’t get enough fluoride in their diet, so it’s also commonly added to city water sources and dental products like toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss.
Fluoride was first discovered in the early 1900s when a dental school graduate named Dr. Frederick McKay began noticing its effects on children’s teeth due to the lower rates of cavities in regions where higher levels of fluoride naturally occurred in the water supply. Like you, he began to wonder, “What is fluoride?”
In the 1940s, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city to add fluoride to its water supply. As a result, children in the area subsequently had 60% less cavities! This was the birth of modern preventative dentistry, and the use of fluoride to protect and remineralize teeth.
Sources of Fluoride
Fluoride can be found in countless foods that many of us eat every day, such as spinach, fruit, grapes, wine, seafood, potatoes, coffee, and tea. Most diets don’t contain enough fluoride to benefit your teeth in a substantive way, so it’s important to use dental care products that contain added fluoride.
When You Need More Fluoride
Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is fluoride?” it’s important to determine if you’re getting enough. The best way to do this is to make an appointment for a dental exam so that your dentist can assess if your fluoride needs are being met. If you need more fluoride, your dentist can apply a concentrated fluoride treatment during your visit or prescribe a special mouthwash with extra fluoride as an active ingredient.
Fluoride can benefit your teeth in many ways, so don’t hesitate to ask your dentist about this amazing mineral to ensure your teeth are receiving a sufficient supply to achieve the maximum benefits.
Call our Lubbock Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.