Fluoride And Tooth Decay
Tooth decay occurs when food acids dissolve the protective enamel surrounding each tooth and create a hole, or cavity, in the tooth. These acids are present in food, and can also be formed by acid-producing bacteria that convert sugars into acids. There is overwhelming evidence that fluoride can substantially reduce tooth decay. When ingested into the body, fluoride concentrates in bones and in dental enamel which makes the tooth enamel more resistant to decay. It is also believed that fluoride may inhibit the bacteria that convert sugars into acidic substances that attack the enamel.
Fluoride is the water soluble, ionic form of the element fluorine. It is present in most water supplies at low levels and nearly all food contains traces of fluoride. When water is fluoridated, chemicals that release fluoride are added to the water. In addition to fluoridation of water supplies, toothpaste and mouthwash also contain added fluoride.
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