Fluoride is a natural element that is found in soil, water and in a variety of foods. Fluoride protects tooth enamel against the acids that cause tooth decay. For many Canadians, fluoride is in public drinking water, which provides protection to the entire community. These water supplies are often supplemented with fluoride because the practice is acknowledged as safe and effective in fighting cavities. Fluoride does this by rendering the enamel more resistant to decay after it is incorporated into enamel’s crystal structure. People with dry mouth problems (usually from medication, but also those who have had radiation to salivary glands or autoimmune diseases) and vomiting/heartburn problems will also benefit from more fluoride.
It is generally NOT safe to swallow toothpastes, rinses, or other products containing topical fluoride. In rare cases, some people may be overexposed to high concentrations of fluoride, resulting in a relatively harmless condition called dental fluorosis, which leaves dark enamel stains on teeth.
For more information about fluoride and it's health benefits, contact the dentists at Smiles at SummerHill Dental in Newmarket, Ontario