6th May 2022

What is Fluoride and What Does Fluoride Do?

If you’re struggling with your overall dental health or tooth decay, then your dentist might recommend increasing the use of fluoride. Treating your teeth with fluoride is a very important part of your overall oral care regime. Children, especially, struggle with tooth decay and currently, tooth decay is the biggest cause of hospitalisation for children aged 5-9 years old. With the UK government recently announcing that fluoride is to be added to drinking water, many people are now wondering what is fluoride and what does fluoride do?

Why Is Fluoride Being Added To Water?

Last week, the government announced that fluoride is likely to be added to drinking water in the future across the UK after medical officers concluded that the mineral can help reduce the risk of tooth decay, particularly in children. Public Health England found that by adding fluoride to water, this could help reduce cavities in children by up to 28%.

Naturally, fluoride is already found in drinking water in very small amounts, however not enough to provide any protection against tooth decay. PHE (Public Health England) found strong evidence that water fluoridation would drastically reduce the prevalence of tooth decay and help to improve dental health across the UK. Surprisingly, tooth decay is the biggest cause of hospitalisation for children aged from 5-9 years old in the UK, with around 23% of five-year-olds experiencing some form of damage to their teeth. But, what is fluoride and why is it so important?

What Is Fluoride?

A lot of our patients wonder “what is fluoride?. Fluoride is commonly used in dental care in order to strengthen the enamel, or the outer layer of your teeth. Naturally, fluoride is found in soil and food, with very small traces also found in water. Typically, it is produced synthetically for use in dental products, such as toothpaste and mouthwash. It can also be added in small amounts to public water supplies (also known as water fluoridation) where it can help to reduce the prevalence of tooth decay in local populations.

It was discovered that fluoride is effective in fighting tooth decay in the 1930s, where researchers found that children who drank fluoridated water whilst growing up had fewer cases of tooth decay than those who drank non-fluoridated water. Since then, studies have shown that when fluoride is added to the water supply, tooth decay cases decrease.

What Does Fluoride Do?

Fluoride helps promote better oral health in a few different ways. If we consume fluoride through drinking water, then the fluoride then enters the bloodstream and becomes part of developing permanent teeth, especially in children. When using dental products that contain fluoride, daily use means that over time, fluoride forms part of your saliva and helps to strengthen teeth from the outside, so that your tooth enamel gets stronger.

How Does Fluoride Work?

Fluoride works as part of the demineralisation and remineralisation process which naturally occurs in the mouth. The demineralisation process starts with the bacteria found in the plaque on your teeth. This bacteria feeds on sugar and then produces acidic saliva which then weakens tooth enamel. Fluoride helps to control and protect against damage caused by the demineralisation process and works to remineralise your tooth enamel, preventing cavities and in some cases, it can reverse early signs of tooth decay.

When you use products containing fluoride, such as toothpaste, then the fluoride ends up in your saliva. When your teeth are then coated in saliva that contains fluoride, your enamel ends up absorbing traces of fluoride. Then, the fluoride bonds with phosphate and calcium which naturally exists in your enamel to create fluorapatite, a strong material that helps to fight decay and prevent cavities.

Conclusion

We can all benefit from additional fluoride intake, as it offers better dental protection. However, there are people who would benefit more:

  • Children
  • Those who have poor dental hygiene
  • Have diets that are high in carbohydrates and/or sugar
  • Have previously had crowns, bridges, braces and restorative procedures
  • Have a history of cavities or tooth decay

Here at Dental Solutions, we can look at your current dental health during your next checkup and provide advice on how to better protect your oral health using fluoride. To arrange a general dental checkup, contact us today!

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Michael Sparke
Michael Sparke
2024-05-17
Initially I was quite apprehensive about having 2 implants, but upon my consultation with Gavin ., i felt encouraged by his knowledge and advice . The whole experience in a very relaxed atmosphere could not have been any better. I am well impressed by their professionalism and expertise in this Practice and would most certainly give them a Top Class recommendation .
Kay Burton
Kay Burton
2024-05-15
I just had my implant fitted today, the whole process was painless, I'm so pleased with everything and would highly recommend Dental solutions, the whole team was fabulous 👌
Mike White
Mike White
2024-01-29
The best experience. When you step through the door you are met by the friendliest receptionist,Which continues through the practice. If you want the best dental care and treatments across the board this is where you need to go.
Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell
2023-12-15
I came to dental solutions with severe anxiety of dentists and Lauren was so helpful, kind and patient with me. For the first time in years I've found a dentist who I feel comfortable with. Thank you
Gill S
Gill S
2023-10-27
I had a wisdom tooth extracted by Gavin after having toothache due to my tooth breaking. I was nervous as I had not had a tooth removed by injection before. Gavin was reassuring, explained the procedure fully and it was over quickly with no pain. All staff at the practice are caring, friendly and professional and I have been going for many years. I highly recommend Dental Solutions.
K.WEDGE
K.WEDGE
2023-09-06
Thank you to Gavin and team at Dental Solutions for the superb dental work done yesterday. As well as being highly professional and very good at what they do the place has a great atmosphere which makes going to the dentist a pleasure.
tracy grensinger
tracy grensinger
2023-07-02
Amazing experience. I felt in safe friendly professional hands with all the team . Thank you!
Zoe Manley
Zoe Manley
2023-06-30
Can’t speak highly enough of this practice and in particular Lauren. 2 years ago I walked in and was so nervous I cried just as the sight of the chair. Her and the staff have been so patient and understanding and have worked with me to overcome my phobia. This week I had a filling and was absolutely fine, my family couldn’t believe it. Reception staff are lovely and really accommodating too. So glad I found them, I don’t dread the dentist anymore.
David Partridge
David Partridge
2023-05-10
A really Five Star Dental Practice! Upon arrival I was greeted by their most friendly welcoming receptionists. it seems nothing is 'too much trouble' to them. Gavin is similarly very friendly and the surgery is kitted out with the most high-tech modern equipment. On my first visit Gavin examined my teeth and explained my options to me giving me his recommendation for treatment and reasons why. Their Co-ordinator prepared a detailed quote for my treatment and went through it in detail with me, ensuring I understood everything; she had plenty of time for me as a patient. From the outset I had complete confidence in entrusting them with my dental care and the final results are truly amazing. Gavin and Richard could not have been more professional and my treatment was made as painless as possible. Dental Solutions provide a truly outstanding service and I thank them for my new 'long lost' smile and renewed confidence, especially when dining out and talking with people. I can't recommend them too highly.
Carole Dodwell
Carole Dodwell
2023-05-08
A first class experience from start to finish. Despite being fearful of visiting the dentist, Gavin put me at ease with his gentle unhurried manner. I was surprised at how relaxed I actually felt undergoing treatment for a crown and the removal/replacement of front teeth veneers. Having felt self conscious about my front teeth for a long time, I decided to have my old veneers replaced. The results were amazing and far exceeded my expectations. What Gavin achieved was nothing short of a work of art, boosting my confidence tenfold. The practice itself is very welcoming, the customer service excellent and the staff are all very friendly and kind. I cannot recommend this dental practise highly enough.
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