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Benefits Of Fluoride and Xylitol To Lower Cavity Risk

July 19, 2021

What is Fluoride and what role does it play in maintaining good oral health?

Fluoride may make you think immediately of toothpastes and mouthwashes. It can help aid the process of re-mineralization of teeth, strengthening teeth and protecting teeth from bacteria that causes decay. Dr. Bellingham advises all patients to use toothpastes and mouthwashes containing fluoride for optimal oral health. A few other fluoride sources include:

  • fluoridated water
  • fluoride gels and foams
  • In-office fluoride application
  • fluoride supplements and lozenges

Fluoride therapy is a process that repairs the mineralized portion of the teeth following a bacterial attack. When enamel loses its mineral structure due to decay, fluoride therapy reintroduces fluorapatite into the enamel.

During the first 8 years of life when most permanent teeth are being formed, overexposure to fluoride can cause the condition called fluorosis. Once the permanent teeth come in, the teeth of those affected by fluorosis may appear discolored.  Dental bonding can be placed to restore teeth to their natural color.

What is Xylitol and what role does it play in maintaining good oral health?

Xylitol is a sweetener that comes from the cell wall of plants. When exposed to xylitol, the Streptococcus mutans bacteria present in the mouth (responsible for causing dental caries) are unable to secrete acid in the mouth. The acidic nature of these bacteria changes the pH of the oral cavity, giving the microorganisms an ideal environment to initiate the process of caries. When they are unable to secrete acid, the mouth retains a healthy, balanced pH which halts harmful bacterial activity.

Gum, mints, mouth rinses and toothpastes containing Xylitol are available for purchase and some of these products are even made with added calcium and phosphorus, which help in the re-mineralization of the enamel following bacterial attack. Since xylitol is obtained from a plant source, it is naturally an excellent choice for those diagnosed with diabetes, and it can even replace table sugar.  Try a few well-known xylitol products out there like Spry gum and Dr. John’s lollipops.

If you ever have any questions about maintaining good oral health, our team at Lakefront Family Dentistry would be happy to help!