Fluoride and General Dentistry

fluoride and general dentistryIf you drink tap water, then you’re ingesting minimal amounts of fluoride, and it’s found in most major toothpaste and dental hygiene products today. In fact, you can even receive direct fluoride treatments at your dentist’s office if your teeth are at risk for tooth decay. Yet, do you know why fluoride is such a staple in general dentistry today? To explain, we examine the mineral’s popularity by exploring just how it interacts with your teeth to protect them from destructive tooth decay.

The Threat to Your Teeth’s Defenses

With the prevalence of dental diseases and the vast array of dental hygiene products available today, one might think that human teeth were utterly helpless to defend themselves. The truth, however, is that your teeth’s natural protective layer, called enamel, is the strongest and most resilient substance that your body produces. Comprised mainly of minerals (like calcium and phosphate), enamel is subject to damage from organic acid, which certain oral bacteria produce after consuming sugar and other carbohydrates. The acid depletes your teeth of the minerals enamel requires, in time leaving your enamel too weak to defend your teeth against acid erosion and decay.

Reinforcement for Your Teeth’s Defenses

Ensuring an adequate amount of calcium and phosphate in your diet can help keep your enamel strong, but when it’s weakened by acid, the mineral fluoride can bind to your enamel’s surface, reinforcing your tooth’s defenses against harmful oral bacteria and the infections they cause. Fluoride has been proven successful enough at improving tooth decay prevention that by the 1960s, adding fluoride to municipal water supplies (water fluoridation) was an official US policy.


Dirk A. Newman, DDS, offers a full range of modern dental care services, including general dentistry, smile enhancement, smile restoration, and implant dentistry. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a visit by calling our office at 520-296-5439. Located in Tucson, AZ, we proudly serve patients from Tucson and all surrounding communities.