When it comes to the health of your smile, prevention is priceless. Since most dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease are progressive, they only grow worse with time once they’ve developed. One of the more popular preventive tools in the fight against tooth decay is fluoride, which can be found in most modern toothpaste and dental care products. In fact, the benefits of the mineral are so well-known that fluoride treatments are a routine measure at your dentist’s office for patients with an increased risk of tooth decay. Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Kania, explores the popularity of fluoride in today’s dental care by explaining how it protects your teeth from disease.
Discovering the Complex Mineral
The first indications that fluoride could benefit your oral health began in the early 1900s as an odd observation by a young dental school graduate named Frederick McKay. In 1901, McKay opened his dental practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Upon his arrival, McKay was astonished to find that a large portion of the population sported prominent brown stains on their teeth. In some cases, the stains were severe enough to resemble the color of chocolate candy. After decades of research and the eventual collaboration of other interested professionals, McKay and his colleagues discovered that the stains were caused by the supply of fluoride in the drinking water. What astounded McKay and friends most, however, was that teeth afflicted with the brown deformity were strangely resistant to tooth decay.
Practical Application for Better Dental Health
It was a few more decades after fluoride’s dental affects were discovered before the mineral was studied and modified to provide the benefits of tooth decay-resistance without the embarrassing enamel deformity. Once achieved, however, successful water fluoridation became the norm for cities across the United States of America. So how, exactly, does fluoride serve to strengthen your teeth’s protection? The secret lies in the makeup of your enamel—the natural protective layer that surrounds your teeth.
Enamel is the strongest substance that your body produces, and is comprised mainly of minerals. When oral bacteria consume sugar and convert it into acid, the acid weakens your enamel and saps your teeth of essential minerals. As a mineral, fluoride helps replenish your tooth enamel’s strength by bonding to its surface and patching up weak spots. By drinking fluoridated water, brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, undergoing fluoride treatments at your dentist’s office, or using prescription strength fluoride, you can help boost your teeth’s natural defenses to ward off cavities.
Improved Dental Health with Your Encinitas Periodontist
To learn more about the benefits of fluoride, or how to protect your dental health from decay and disease, contact Dr. Kania at our Encinitas dental office by calling (706) 642-0711. We serve patients from Encinitas, San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, La Costa, and the neighboring communities.