The best advice your general dentist in Monsey, New York, can give you is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. This oral hygiene habit infuses fluoride into your teeth and lets you enjoy its benefits. Let’s take a look at what fluoride is, how it helps the teeth, and how much of it is safe.
Fluoride’s Role in Ensuring Healthy Teeth
Fluoride primarily removes plaque from the teeth as a critical ingredient of toothpaste. Plaque is the root cause of all oral health problems like cavities, tooth decay and gum infection. You can avoid these issues as much as possible thanks to fluoride and frequent brushing.
How Does Plaque Cause Cavities?
Plaque forms when food debris with high sugar content gets stuck on and in between teeth. The film attracts bacteria, which consume these sugars. These microorganisms produce acid as a byproduct of the process. The acids slowly damage the enamel or the teeth’s outer shell.
You can remove plaque by gargling mouthwash and brushing with fluoride toothpaste within 24 hours. Failure to brush or rinse your teeth will cause the bacteria to multiply and accelerate tooth decay. Tartar also forms after 72 hours and provides a hard shell where bacteria thrive.
Cavities can worsen into various oral diseases. For instance, bacteria could dig deeper and reach the pulp, the teeth’s innermost layer. The pulp is very sensitive because it has soft tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. A bacterial infection in this area could spread to other parts of the body.
How Fluoride Helps Teeth Resist Cavities
Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance in bones and teeth. Its role is to boost the tooth’s production of minerals, strengthening the enamel or the outer shell.
The teeth of children younger than six years of age are resistant to plaque because they have high fluoride levels. However, this resistance fades as you grow older. That’s why brushing teeth regularly is vital to maintain this resilience to tooth decay.
How Much Fluoride Is Safe?
Fluoride is generally safe, but health authorities point out limits on how much of the substance you or your family can consume. Recommended levels are the following:
- Less than 1 milligram under four years old
- 1 milligram for children 4 to 8 years old
- 2 milligrams for individuals 9 to 13 years old
- 3 milligrams for young adults between 14 to 18 years old
- 4 milligrams for people 19 years and older
What Happens If You Take in Too Much Fluoride?
There is no immediate health threat from taking too much fluoride. Younger children, however, can develop dental fluorosis if they consume too much of the compound while their teeth are about to erupt from the gums. This condition, however, is treatable and does not compromise oral safety.
Moreover, children are no longer at risk for dental fluorosis beyond eight years of age. Some dental professionals even believe it can strengthen teeth against tooth decay.
How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth?
To fully benefit from fluoride, brush with toothpaste at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and before you sleep. Doing so will remove any plaque that might accumulate between your first meal and bedtime. Sleep also lowers the mouth’s saliva production resulting in higher oral bacterial populations, making brushing your teeth in the morning crucial.