How does fluoride prevent tooth decay?
Fluoride prevents tooth decay by making your tooth enamel more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria in your mouth. When fluoride contacts teeth, it turns some of your enamel into a substance called fluorapatite which is more resistant to bacterial acid. Fluoride comes from fluorite, a naturally occurring mineral which is found in the earth’s crust. It naturally occurs in many foods and in water. Fluoride may be obtained from toothpaste, mouth rinses, supplements, well water, city water that has had fluoride added and various food sources.
Carefully controlled studies have determined the optimal level of fluoride that should be added to some city’s controlled water supplies to have the maximal effect in reducing decay. Well-water should be tested to make sure that it is safe and does not contain abnormal amounts of any substance.
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