The natural tooth protector of the tooth is the hard outer layer called the tooth enamel. The high mineral content of the enamel which makes this tissue the hardest in the human body also makes it prone to demineralization.
Tooth enamel dissolves in the acids and fermentable carbohydrates present in the ingested food and fails to protect the tooth from decay. That’s when we have to take the help of other protectors. One such excellent tooth protector is Fluoride.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural element found naturally in the ocean, other water sources in many locations, plants and some foods.
How Does Fluoride Work As The Tooth Protector?
Fluoride’s Chemical Action And Reaction
Fluoride catalyzes the diffusion of calcium and phosphate into the tooth surface, which in turn remineralizes the crystalline structures in a dental cavity.
The remineralized tooth surfaces contain fluoridated hydroxyapatite and fluorapatite. These substances are the ones which resist acid attack better than the original protector.
Flouride’s Therapeutic Working
The continual presence of fluoride in the saliva and in the fluid phase of dental plaque is critical to its curative working properties.
Fluoride in saliva and dental plaque, interacts with the surface of enamel, inhibits the demineralization and promotes remineralization. This process helps prevent dental decay.
Fluoride’s Work When Absorbed
Fluoride that is absorbed by the body is utilized by the teeth building cells to make a tougher enamel. It exhibits a cariostatic activity on the erupted teeth and protects them against caries. Protection of baby teeth is very important because they guide the adult teeth and prevent the need of orthodontic treatments.
Flouride’s Work As A Topical Agent
Fluoride that is applied to the outside of the enamel makes the crystals that form the tooth enamel more durable. Tooth enamel crystals that have fluoride are much more resistant to acid.
They are less likely to breakdown and cause the tooth surface to become porous. Hence oral Flouride is considered an effective means of preventing dental caries. Dental care products like toothpaste, gels, mouth rinses etc. which are fluorinated can be of help too.
Fluoride’s Work In The Form Of Liquid
Consumption of fluorinated drinking water reduces the occurrence of dental caries as compared to consumption of non fluorinated drinking water. Water fluorination is recommended by leading national and international health organizations.
Drinking water with low levels of fluoride can be an effective means of putting a check on the formation of caries. Having beverages made by using fluorinated water can also have a protective effect on the teeth. The taste of the water is not altered by adding fluoride and also boiling the water does not significantly change the amount of fluoride added.
Caution While Using Flouride
Anything taken in excess , even the beneficial things may be harmful. Flouride is no exception and is detrimental when taken in extreme doses. Dental Fluorosis is a condition resulting from the overexposure to fluoride.
It causes the adult teeth to stain that is mottling is observed. This effects the teeth of children especially between the ages of 6 months to 5 years.