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El Portal Dental Blog


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Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Every day, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth's enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Minerals are lost (demineralization) from a tooth's enamel layer when acids -- formed from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth -- attack the enamel. Minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate are redeposited (remineralization) to the enamel layer from the foods and waters consumed. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization to repair the enamel layer leads to tooth decay.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay. In children under 6 years of age, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also enhances remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults.

Fluoride intake is most important for infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years because this is the timeframe teeth develop and erupt.  Also, adults benefit from fluoride, too.  New research indicates that topical fluorides from fluoride treatments as a dental visit are as important in fighting tooth decay as in strengthening developing teeth.

In addition, people with conditions such as dry mouth, gum disease (periodontitis or gingivitis), frequent cavities, presence of crown and bridges or braces may be at increased risk of tooth decay and would therefore benefit from additional fluoride treatment.

City of Merced has an annual water report of which indicated that the concentration of fluoride in our tap water is 0.83 ppm which is within the normal range (https://www.cityofmerced.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=10293).  If you are young and/or have certain conditions mentioned above, don’t forget to have topical fluoride applied on your teeth at your dental visit.  At El Portal Dental Group, we always offer topical fluoride or varnish to our patients during their hygiene visit.