How Do Fluoride & Dental Sealants Protect My Teeth?

You’ve probably heard of fluoride and dental sealants as tools to improve your oral health. But what exactly are they? Here, we’ll discuss fluoride and dental sealants in more detail and explain how they protect your teeth.

woman drinking a glass of fluoridated water

What Is fluoride?

A naturally occuring mineral, fluoride is vital to your oral health because it strengthens your teeth’s enamel and reduces your risk for decay. In the 1930s, studies showed that those who grew up drinking water with fluoride had two thirds fewer cavities than those who grew up without drinking fluoridated water. Today, most public drinking water has fluoride added to it in order to help reduce tooth decay in communities throughout the country.

How Does Fluoride Protect Your Teeth?

As mentioned above, fluoride strengthens your enamel. The way it does this is by replenishing minerals like calcium and phosphate that are lost during demineralization process when your mouth is too acidic. These minerals keep your enamel strong and therefore keep serious dental health issues like tooth decay at bay. For children, fluoride hardens the enamel of baby and adult teeth even before they emerge. You get fluoride from your water, but you should also be using fluoride toothpaste to make sure that you’re protecting your enamel and making it stronger.

What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are a plastic coating that is painted on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, particularly the molars and premolars in the back of your teeth. The sealant bonds directly to the tooth and hardens so that it creates a protective cover over your back teeth. Children and teens are the usual recipient of dental sealants, but adults with a history of cavities may also be candidates. Dental sealants typically last for about 10 years.

How Do Dental Sealants Protect Your Teeth?

The thin, plastic coat of a dental sealant acts as a barrier between the back chewing surfaces of your teeth and bad bacteria and acids that tend to hang out in the back of your mouth. Your chewing surfaces bear the brunt of a lot of action and because of those grooves and crevices in your back molars, they’re a great place for food particles to get stuck. If they’re left there, these food particles are transformed into acids by the bad bacteria in your mouth and then eat away at your tooth’s enamel until they create a cavity. Dental sealants therefore keep your enamel safe from harm and decrease the possibility of tooth decay by sealing out the bad stuff.

If you have any other questions about fluoride, dental sealants, or any other ways to protect your tooth’s enamel, contact us today!

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