Fluoride is a natural cavity fighter. It helps resist cavities by helping the enamel to be more resistant to acids, and acids cause tooth decay. Most dentists recommend some type of fluoride toothpaste for both adults and children (although a child who is under the age of three, or a child who is unable to spit out the toothpaste, should be given an amount no greater than a grain of rice. Just a tiny smear on the brush, but when a child is old and competent enough to spit out the toothpaste, the toothpaste can be added to the toothbrush in the amount of a pea. Choose a child’s toothpaste that is sponsored by the ADA seal).
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in most watersheds both fresh and salt. Many places have even added the mineral to the drinking water to help communities fight cavities naturally. In fact, the Center for Disease Control considers the addition of fluoride to community water systems to be one of the top ten most beneficial achievements to public health of the twentieth century. When a person receives fluoride through either food or drink, the fluoride stays in the mouth and provides a topical application, but also, in the case of fluoride in the water supply, fluoride is swished throughout the mouth.
Fluoride in toothpaste is very important, and while there are many natural toothpastes which do not include fluoride in the ingredients, fluoride is such a special element to oral health that adults and children have a twenty-five percent greater risk of developing cavities without it. That’s significant. There are mouthwashes that provide fluoride, however, children under the age of six shouldn’t be allowed to use these products as the risk of a young child to swallow the mouthwash is great.
Also, remember that your dentist is capable of giving you fluoride at your office visit. He can apply it to the surfaces of the teeth. Maybe he would even recommend a fluoride supplement based upon your needs. If you have any questions about your oral health make sure to bring them up with your dentist at your next visit to the office, and if you don’t know when that next office visit should be, contact your dentist to determine a timeline for your next visit.