Which Prevents Cavities Better: Fluoride Or Clean Teeth?
Some dental experts say that keeping your teeth clean is not nearly as critical as getting sufficient fluoride when it comes to preventing cavities. Others say good oral hygiene deserves first place, while fluoride serves a secondary, though very important, role.
We won’t try to solve this long standing debate among dentists here today, but we will look a little more into why both are important.
No one has proven yet why exactly fluoride helps protect tooth enamel, but studies show that it does. It has an effect of making teeth better able to resist the effects of plaque, even when it threatens to seep down into the minute crevices in your enamel.
Now, if your teeth are covered in a sticky, acidic film of plaque, not only will that accelerate tooth decay in itself, but it will also prevent the fluoride from fully contacting your tooth surfaces so it can do its job too.
Fluoride can help strengthen a tooth so it can stand up against decay, and some studies even suggest it can reverse the process (in its early stages). Dental hygiene reduces the amount of plaque and bacteria that get and stay on your teeth. A clean tooth reduces the threat present, while a sound tooth deals better with the threats that do contact it. Like many good things, too much fluoride can cause side effects such as mottling or discoloration of the teeth. It is prudent to evaluate how much fluoride you may be receiving in tap or bottled water, added to juices and foods, or as supplemental tablets.
Choosing Your Toothpaste Wisely
No oral hygiene tools are as basic as toothbrush and toothpaste. But not all toothpastes are the same. The American Dental Association has long recommended using a fluoride containing toothpaste to brush twice daily, at all ages and stages of life. This has to be done in conjunction with proper brushing technique, flossing, and a healthy diet for best results.
There are some consumers who have concluded that fluoride is a negative additive and who seek out toothpastes that don’t contain any (plus drinking water devoid of fluoride.) Even the companies that manufacture such toothpaste, however, don’t make claims that the paste will help prevent tooth decay on the box.
It’s true that it’s not a good idea to swallow your toothpaste, but it certainly isn’t toxic like poison either, like some claim. On the teeth, fluoride has many well established benefits, so most people would do well to use a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
Another objection to fluoride is the assertion that tooth decay is not caused by a fluoride deficiency. That’s true, of course, but it’s also true that fluoride strengthens your teeth and helps prevent cavities!
Getting regular dental check ups and oral cleanings also needs to be added to at home care, with or without fluoride. But on the whole, evidence suggests that a complete dental care plan with fluoride is superior.
To learn more about maintaining optimal oral health, or to set up an appointment in or around Ormond Beach, FL, contact periodontist Dr. Raymond A. Kenzik today!