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What Is Fluoride?

While most people know the importance of brushing and flossing, fluoride is often missing from their oral health routines. So, what is fluoride? And why is it important? 

Find out what the benefits of fluoride are from our Omaha dentists

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that strengthens your tooth enamel and prevents cavities. It can be found in many foods and is often added, in small doses, to drinking water. 

Fluoride is also commonly used in over-the-counter products like toothpaste and mouthwash. Your dentist may recommend fluoride treatments during your routine cleaning to help protect your teeth, but we’ll touch more on that below. 

What Does Fluoride Do?

Fluoride protects your teeth in a few different ways. That said, its primary use is rebuilding weakened tooth enamel through remineralization. Here’s how it works:

When plaque builds up on your teeth, it slowly corrodes your enamel. This process is called demineralization, and it leaves your teeth vulnerable to cavities. Fluoride helps stop decay by making your teeth more resistant to acids from sugary foods and drinks. 

The fluoride you get from food helps when you’re developing permanent teeth as a child, but it doesn’t repair damage from cavities. However, topical fluoride (found in toothpaste, drinking water, etc.) can reverse very early demineralization. 

What Are The Benefits of Fluoride? 

In short, fluoride prevents tooth decay by strengthening your teeth. Fluoride can also help with the following: 

  • Restores weak tooth enamel

  • Slows down or stops early signs of tooth decay

  • Eliminates harmful bacteria

Is Fluoride Safe?

Fluoride is safe in appropriate doses, but you can have too much of a good thing. Excessive amounts of fluoride can cause dental fluorosis in young children. Dental fluorosis is a condition that typically causes faint, white discoloration on the teeth. 

The causes of dental fluorosis include: 

  • Too much fluoridated toothpaste at a young age 

  • Overuse of fluoride supplements

  • Eating large amounts of processed foods

On the flip side, not enough fluoride means your teeth won’t be strong enough to ward off cavities. Fluoride is especially important for children as it strengthens their adult teeth that have yet to come in. Many family dentists like Eagle Run West Dental Group offer fluoride treatment at their offices. 

What Is Fluoride Treatment?

Fluoride treatment contains a concentrated amount of fluoride and is applied directly to the teeth as a varnish or foam. Varnishes are brushed on, while foams are placed in a mouthguard and positioned over the teeth. 

At Eagle Run West Dental Group, we recommend fluoride treatment for patients prone to tooth decay, including those with:

  • Poor oral health

  • Cavities and gum disease

  • Malnutrition or eating disorders

  • Thin or missing enamel

Fluoride treatment is repeated every several months, depending on the particular case. 

Contact Our Dental Office in Omaha, NE

Needless to say, fluoride is meant to complement your oral health routine. You should continue to brush your teeth twice daily and see your dentist every six months for regular checkups. 

Contact us today or call 402-498-8804 to learn more about fluoride treatment at our dentist office in West Omaha, NE

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