Fluoride is available in many ways:
1. Through water fluoridation.
Water fluoridation is listed as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century by U.S Centers for Disease control as it is a feasible way to introduce fluoride to the public. Although there may be different opinions regarding to adding fluoride to our water but it is undeniable that water fluoridation is an inexpensive and feasible way especially to people which stay in rural areas and fluoridated water might be the only source of fluoride.
2. Through fluoridated salt and milk.
This is another alternative to gain fluoride in our diet but since salt and milk is absorbed through our gastrointestinal system, absorption of fluoride is slower compared to other ways of gaining fluoride.
3. Through dietary supplements
such as fluoride tablets especially to people which lives in area without fluoridated water.
4. Through application of topical fluoride .
Fluoride gels, fluoride varnishes can be applied professionally by dentist to patients who are more prone to dental caries.
Fluoridated mouthwashes are available in market and can be used as an adjunct to normal tooth brushing.
How can fluoride helps to prevent cavities? –
Fluoride promotes remineralisation.
During the formation of caries, bacteria produces acid that causes demineralization of tooth structure. Caries is formed when demineralization is more than the process of remineralisation. When fluoride is present in your diet, fluoroapatite is formed and is stronger and acid resistant compared to the normal mineral form , hydroxyapatite. Thus, fluoride allows teeth to be less susceptible to acid attack. –
Incorporation of fluoride during tooth eruption allows formation of teeth which has shallower pits and fissures. Deeper pits and fissures allow plaque stagnation ( a biofilm formed by bacteria ) Plaque can be removed by mechanical brushing, but ineffective cleaning especially at the deep pits and fissures area will cause formation of caries at that region. Fluoride inhibits glycolysis pathway by interfering the reaction of enzyme enolase thus reduces the formation of caries. Fluoride is beneficial especially to those who are more prone to caries attack (such as people who has lesser saliva flow rate, handicapped patients, patients who had radiotherapy )
Too much of anything is a bad thing. Excessive usage of fluoride can cause fluorosis (formation of white, chalky spots on tooth surface). Therefore, you should consult your dentist before taking any forms of fluoride treatment .