Fluoride is naturally in rocks, soil and water, but fluoride doesn’t exist on its own. Like so many superheroes, it’s created through a scientific process. Fluoride is actually a chemical ion of fluorine, one of the top 20 most common elements in the earth’s crust. An ion is a positively- or negatively-charged atom that helps elements combine with one another. When fluorine, which is negatively charged, meets a positively-charged ion like sodium, cavity fighters are born and are here to help you protect your smile!
The fluoride superhero can make your teeth stronger, prevent cavities, and even reverse early tooth decay. So how does fluoride fight cavities? Let’s first focus on what fluoride is protecting… Your enamel!Tooth enamel is the outer covering of your teeth. It’s stronger than bone and made from calcium and phosphate. Your spit, or saliva, is also jam-packed with calcium and phosphate and bathes the teeth to keep them strong.
When you eat things like candy, crackers or noodles, cavity-causing bacteria starts feasting on the carbohydrates in these foods. This produces acids that attack your enamel. It causes calcium and phosphate to be stripped from the tooth enamel, leaving you more vulnerable to decay and cavities.
Now, here’s where fluoride is the superhero. When your saliva has fluoride in it from sources like toothpaste or water, your teeth are able to take it in. Once in your enamel, fluoride creates a powerful defense mechanism by teaming up with calcium and phosphate for the creation of FLUOROAPATITE! This defense system fights to protect our teeth from cavities, and makes our smiles stronger!