Should You Be Using Fluoride?

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Many dental professionals or medical practitioners will tell you that fluoride is essential for keeping your teeth healthy and strong. There are also many products available, such as toothpaste, mouthwash, and water, that contain fluoride. But what is fluoride, and do you really need it? Our Philadelphia dentist tells you what you need to know about fluoride.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many water sources, including rivers, lakes, and the ocean. It can also be found in some foods and drinks, like tea and fish. Fluoride is often added to public water supplies to help prevent tooth decay. It is also added to many dental products, like toothpaste and mouthwash.

What does fluoride do for my teeth?

Your teeth have an outer layer of enamel that protects them from decay. When you eat or drink sugary or acidic foods, the enamel can break down and leave your teeth vulnerable to decay.

Fluoride has been thought to help prevent tooth decay by making the tooth enamel (the hard outer layer of the tooth) more resistant to acids. This process is known as remineralization.

Is fluoride actually effective?

Most research has shown that fluoride is effective in preventing tooth decay. According to the CDC, “fluoride works by stopping or even reversing the tooth decay process—it keeps tooth enamel strong and solid. Tooth decay is caused by certain bacteria in the mouth…fluoride helps to remineralize tooth surfaces and prevents cavities from forming.”

Do I need fluoride?

You may not need extra fluoride if you live in an area with fluoridated water or use dental products that contain fluoride. You may be at risk for tooth decay if you live in an area with little or no natural fluoride in the water or you don’t use dental products that contain fluoride.

You may be more likely to need extra fluoride if you:

  • Have dry mouth
  • Have gum disease
  • Wear braces or other dental appliances
  • Take medications that cause dry mouth
  • Have a history of tooth decay

How can I incorporate fluoride into my dental hygiene routine?

If you think you may need extra fluoride, talk to your Philadelphia dentist at the dental practice of Barry Levin. They may recommend using a fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash to get an extra dose of fluoride for your smile. You can also get professional fluoride treatments at the dentist office.

Some public water supplies are fluoridated, which means that fluoride has been added to the water. This is usually done by the local municipality or water company. You can check with your local water company to see if your water is fluoridated. Even if it is, however, you should be sure to add extra fluoride to your dental routine, as there may not be enough in the water supply to actually prevent decay.

Contact Our Philadelphia Dentist Today

If you’re wondering whether you need fluoride or how to incorporate it into your dental routine, contact the expert team at Barry Levin, DDS today. We’ll be happy to help you achieve and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile!