Fluoride is a natural mineral that has been used in dentistry for many years to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. It is found in water, soil, plants, rocks, and even in the air. Fluoride works to control early tooth decay in several ways, such as acidifying bacterial cytoplasm and inhibiting vital bacterial enzymes. Dentists can apply fluoride varnish to both baby and adult teeth, which strengthens the enamel and makes it more resistant to cavities.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the use of professional fluoride varnish for children under 6 years of age. In addition to fluoride varnish, drinking tap water with optimal levels of fluoride and brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste are also recommended. However, it's important to note that children are more likely to swallow toothpaste, which contains significantly more fluoride than fluoridated water. Excessive fluoride intake can lead to toxicity, so it's important to be aware of the amount of fluoride you are consuming.
Salt fluoridation is another way to provide fluoride to people. This process involves adding fluoride to salt, which is then consumed by people. Studies have shown that this method has a substantial effect on preventing cavities in primary and permanent teeth. Milk fluoridation programs are also being carried out in about 15 countries around the world.
Overall, fluoride is an effective way to prevent tooth decay and strengthen teeth. It is important to be aware of the amount of fluoride you are consuming and follow the recommendations of your dentist or doctor when it comes to using fluoride treatments.