Fluoride: How it Works
Some Facts about Fluoride:
Fluoride is 13th most abundant element
Naturally occurring in fresh water in low concentrations.
Naturally occurring in sea water in high concentration (1ppm+)
It is also found in food and fluoride-containing tootthpaste
The Impact of Fluoride:
The CDC called water fluoridation “One of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.” This claim is due to the fact that fluoridation has an immense impact on lowering cavity prevalence while also having minimal side effects.
How does it work?
It works in a couple of ways.
The enamel of your teeth is super strong. On a molecular level it’s made up of many hydroxyapatite crystals. When Fluoride is introduced, a part of the crystal (hydroxyl group) is substituted with fluoride. Fluoride makes the overall crystal much stronger than the hydroxyl group allowed. In the end, this makes the hydroxyapatite stronger and therefore your enamel stronger. When you have strong enamel, it’s harder for cavities to take hold.
Fluoride also slows down cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth by hurting its molecular machinery. Less cavity-causing bacteria means less cavities.