Dr. James S. Kim, DDS. SC

How does fluoride protect teeth?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps prevent tooth decay in three main ways:

  1. Fluoride can stimulate a process called remineralization, which helps reverse the effects of early tooth decay. Remineralization is the opposite of demineralization, which occurs when acids eat away at teeth, creating weak spots and eventually leading to cavities.
  2. Fluoride strengthens teeth and makes them more resistant to tooth decay and damage.
  3. Fluoride interferes with the metabolic processes of the bacteria that cause tooth decay, stopping them from producing the harmful acids that damage teeth.

Since water fluoridation programs begin, tooth decay in communities with fluoridated drinking water has decreased by at least 25% in both kids and adults! In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined water fluoridation in communities to be one of the greatest public health achievements of the twentieth century! While it’s possible to consume an excess of fluoride and experience side effects like fluorosis, which leaves chalky white marks on your teeth, it is essentially impossible to do this by drinking water.

If you live in an area that doesn’t have fluoridated water, you are on a private well, or you exclusively drink filtered or bottled water, let us know. We can apply a fluoride varnish after your cleanings to help you get the positive benefits of this valuable mineral.


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