How Does Fluoride Help Prevent Cavities?

Using fluoride toothpaste can help prevent cavities. Everyday life can be hazardous to your teeth. Certain foods we eat that are acidic can soften enamel on our teeth. These foods include things like pickles, lemons, oranges, coffee,and sports drinks . This doesn’t mean we have to give up these foods, it just means you need to be aware.

And awareness means rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking those foods. It also means waiting 20 minutes to brush your teeth after eating those foods. If you brush immediately after eating acidic foods, you can further damage the enamel on your teeth.

But if you do want to minimize your cavities, drinking soda is not a good idea. Both diet and regular soda bathes your teeth in acidic liquid. With sugared soda you add sugar which can feed the bacteria in your mouth as well. This sets up a perfect situation for cavities to start.

So how does fluoride work? Fluoride is a substance that helps harden the enamel. So it helps re-mineralize enamel and harden it. What does re-mineralize mean? According to Mosbey’s Medical Dictionary:
“It is the replacement of depleted mineral content of bones and teeth. It is a naturally occurring process by the minerals contained in saliva. It may be promoted by certain dental treatments in the dental office and by the patient at home.”

Fluoride protects the enamel by hardening it. This way when the plaque and the acids from the bacteria eat away at the enamel, because of the help of fluoride they have a harder time.

So, the fluoride helps in essence make the tooth harder so it doesn’t decay as easily.