Defining Dentistry: What is dental fluoride?

By Dr. Salina Suy

Editor’s note: This is another segment in a continuing series titled, “Defining Dentistry,” designed to enlighten readers on various components of dentistry.

Happy May everyone!

May means that summer is near, and I am summer ready!

I just love the sun and being outside. What is your favorite summer activity?

May also means it’s my sister Sandra and fiancé Albert’s birthdays!

Fluoride is a natural occurring mineral that is found in many foods and water.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the teeth more resistant to acid attacks and it can help reverse early tooth decay as it disrupts acid production.

Throughout every single day, minerals are added to and lost from the enamel layer of the tooth. This process is called demineralization and re-mineralization. This is due to the changing acid levels of our saliva, plaque accumulations and present bacteria.

Minerals such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate are re-deposited back onto the enamel surface from foods and water we eat. If more is shedding off than is being put back on, then tooth decay occurs.

Fluoride helps us systemically and topically.

— Systemically: In patients 6 years of age and under, fluoride is incorporated into the development of adult teeth, making the adult teeth stronger against acid. Systemic fluoride can be found in water, foods and supplements as prescribed by your dentist or physician.

— Topically: We can use dental fluoride! Dental fluoride is fluoride that is incorporated into dental products to provide benefits to patients. They are in products such as fluoride varnish, toothpaste, mouthwash and even some whitening gels. You can get dental fluoride through over-the-counter products and at the dental office. The fluoride offered at the dental office is usually a higher concentration than the daily denitrifies, and it can be used throughout your lifetime.

Every day is an opportunity to provide your teeth with fluoride. It only takes 24 hours for cavities to start to form from demineralization by acid. Remember; brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse!

I hope this column has helped shed some light on the different forms of fluoride. As always, thank you for joining me in this month’s education series and hopefully we will learn more together next month.

Please feel free to contact me with questions and comments! Have some questions to ask me in person? Call for a free consultation; I look forward to meeting you! Until next time, “Smile with Dr. Suy.”

• Dr. Salina Suy is a health and wellness advocate and general dentist in Utica. Want to learn more? Visit Facebook @smilewithdrsuy or www.smilewithdrsuy.com.

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