Tooth enamel is the outer most covering of your teeth. It’s made of calcium and phosphate and is stronger than bone. Your spit, or saliva, is also loaded with calcium and phosphate and bathes the teeth to keep them strong.
How Do Teeth Get Decay?
When you eat snacks like candies, chocolates, biscuits etc, decay-causing bacteria start utilising the carbohydrates in these foods. This leads to the production of acids that attack your enamel and strip away calcium and phosphate from the tooth enamel leaving your teeth more vulnerable to decay and cavities
How does fluoride fight cavities?
When your saliva has fluoride in it from various sources like water, toothpaste etc, your teeth are able to take it in. Once in your enamel, fluoride teams up with calcium and phosphate to create the most powerful defence system your teeth can have, to prevent cavities from forming: Fluoroapatite. It’s much stronger, more resistant to decay than your enamel and fights to protect your teeth.
What products can I use which contain fluoride?
There are many ways to get fluoride fighting for you. On the home front, be sure to brush your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste that has fluoride in the form of fluorapatite. Even a mouthwash containing the required amount of fluoride will suffice.
Fluoride can also be applied professionally by dentists, usually by a Paediatric Dentist or a General Dentist in the form of a gel, foam or varnish. These methods utilise a much higher level of fluoride concentration than what is present in your toothpaste and mouthwashes. Gels and foams are usually delivered via a tray or a mouthguard. Whereas fluoride varnishes are painted on the tooth. Fluoride can also be applied via a tooth mousse which contains CPP-ACP along with fluoride.
When is fluoride intake most critical?
It is critical for infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years to be exposed to fluoride. This is the timeframe during which the milk teeth and adult teeth erupt in the mouth. However, adults benefit from fluoride too.
Can I develop fluorosis?
The proper amount of fluoride helps prevent and control dental decay. Fluoride ingested during tooth development can result in visible changes in enamel such as white spots because of hypomineralization.
These changes have been broadly termed enamel fluorosis, certain extremes of which are cosmetically objectionable. Severe forms of this condition can occur only when young children ingest excess fluoride, from any source, during critical periods of tooth development. Concerns regarding the risk for enamel fluorosis are limited to children aged <8 years; enamel is no longer susceptible once its maturation is complete.