Fluoride is a mineral that lives in our bones and teeth. Dentistry uses fluoride to strengthen enamel, the outer layer of our teeth. Hence, it is an essential mineral as it helps to prevent cavities. In many countries, such as in the U.S., fluoride is added in small amounts to public water. This process is called water fluoridation.
Humans need fluoride because it helps:
When the bacteria in your mouth break down food, they produce acids that erode the minerals in your tooth enamel. This loss of minerals is called demineralization. Due to this weakening tooth enamel, your teeth become vulnerable to bacteria that cause cavities. This is where fluoride comes to your rescue and helps to remineralize your tooth enamel. Hence, it can further prevent cavities and reverse early signs of tooth decay.
Human beings require a small amount of fluoride in their daily lives. Nevertheless, it is necessary to include them. You may find it in the local water supply and in many over-the-counter (OTC) products, such as:
For people who tend to get many cavities, their dentist might suggest using a prescription mouth rinse with fluoride. These rinses specially made for such people have a higher concentration of fluoride than OTC options do.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. However, while using fluoride enriched products, it is recommended to consult your dentist.