Tooth Decay Starts here.
On the molecular level our tooth enamel fluctuates between demineralization and remineralization. Dietary habits can tip the scale in favor of demineralization. Acid producing bacteria that live in our mouth love carbohydrates, particularly sugar. These bacteria feed on the sugars producing organic acids on the surface of our teeth. These acids leach away the minerals that make up the crystalline lattices of our enamel. This will eventually lead to cavities and tooth decay. As our saliva eventually neutralizes the acid, teeth are able to remineralize. However, if we are not vigilant about maintaining good oral hygiene our teeth may be fighting a losing battle.
What can you do to fight tooth decay?
One of the biggest weapons in our arsenal to combat the demineralization process is fluoride. Fluoride ions present in our saliva encourage re-mineralization and can replace lost enamel structure, reversing the start of the decay process. Moreover, the newly incorporated ions change the surface characteristics of the tooth enamel. This change in structure makes our tooth enamel more resistant to dissolution. In this way fluoride has earned its place in the battle against tooth decay.
Safe and effective.
Years of research have proven fluoride safe and effective in combating tooth decay. The results of community water fluoridation
have had such a significant impact on the prevalence of tooth decay that the CDC has proclaimed it one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century. In the fight against tooth decay fluoride cannot replace good oral hygiene and a healthy diet, but it can serve as a formidable guard.