The Basics: Understanding Fluoride


If you’ve ever glanced at the fine print on your toothpaste container, you may have noticed that it includes an ingredient called fluoride. Or you may recognize the term from your dentist’s office, where fluoride rinses are fairly common.  Most patients know that fluoride is important, but don’t understand just HOW important it is.

What is fluoride and why is it important?

At the most basic level, fluoride is a salt compound formed from the element fluorine and minerals from the earth. 

Fluoride is vitally important to your oral health.  Fluoride helps prevent and reverse acidic damage by adding mineral deposits to the parts of your teeth that have been eroded.

When you eat, naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth start to break down sugars to aid in digestion. These sugars are converted into acids, which can damage your teeth.

 Does fluoride help other parts of the body?

Many assume that consuming fluoride is only an issue that involves your dental health. However, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels.  Talk to your dentist about how to ensure you are getting the right amount of fluoride for your body’s health.

How can you get fluoride?

One major way most people get extra fluoride is through tap water.  Municipalities began adding it to drinking water supplies in the 1940s, and most still have it. The Centers for Disease Control has called this one of the greatest health achievements of the 20th century, and the American Dental Association says it’s the “single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay.”

Another source of fluoride is toothpaste fortified with fluoride.  There are even special sensitivity toothpastes and prescription toothpastes that have higher levels of fluoride to protect teeth.  Even more, your dentist has fluoride rinses available to help you get he fluoride your teeth need.

Fluoride is a word used by our dental team here in Parker quite frequently.  We know how important fluoride is to our patients’ health and we love educating our patients about the best way to get enough fluoride.  Talk to our dental team for more information on protecting your teeth with fluoride.