What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a compound of the element fluorine, which is prevalent throughout nature in water, soil, air, and in most foods. Fluoride is absorbed easily into your teeth’s enamel. “Systemic” fluoride is ingested when added to portable water supplies, soft drinks and teas, and is available in dietary supplements. Once systemic fluoride is absorbed through the body’s gastrointestinal tract, the blood supply distributes it throughout the entire body. Most fluoride not excreted is deposited in bones and hard tissues like teeth.

Why is fluoride important to teeth?

Once teeth become developed, fluoride makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes “remineralization,” which aids in repairing early decay before the damage is even visible.

How do I get fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance, and more than likely, you are ingesting it by the water you drink, and many of the foods that you eat. Many toothpastes and mouth rinses contain “topical” fluoride, and are expectorated or rinsed from the mouth without swallowing. Dentists recommend brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times a day, or after every meal, combined with a routine of flossing and regular dental checkups two times a year. As your dentist, we may administer a topical fluoride such as a gel or varnish. This material is left on for a few minutes, usually during a cleaning appointment. Some patients are prescribed a special fluoride gel for daily home use.

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