The Sacramento Dentistry Group website registered a question recently: “Is dental floss that includes fluoride in the fibers actually effective?” To answer this question, first let us look at what fluoride actually does for the teeth. Then we will consider the scientific evidence regarding dental floss with fluoride.
It’s About Remineralizing
The major hazard to teeth is acid. Acid comes from the foods we eat (especially sour candies), the beverages we drink (think sodas), and the oral bacteria that live in our mouths. As the acid rests on the tooth enamel, it breaks down the outer layer. If it wears away the enamel completely, making a hole down to the underlying dentin layer, you have a cavity. Fortunately, our enamel has the ability to repair minor damage in a process called remineralization.
In effect, throughout the day your teeth lose some enamel to acid or wear, and then gains some back by the process of remineralization. Fluoride encourages the chemical reactions that cause this rebuilding of the tooth enamel. Even more important, tooth enamel rebuilt with fluoride is tougher to dissolve than the original enamel.
Besides this helpful effect, fluoride also directly reduces the numbers of oral bacteria on the teeth. Therefore, it both assists in repairing the damage done by microorganisms and it helps to eliminate them in the first place.
Studies on Fluoride Dental Floss
Over forty years ago, dentists studied the effect of fluoride-impregnated dental floss. This research found that floss delivery of fluoride improved remineralization and reduced oral bacteria. Subsequent studies throughout the decades have continued to support this conclusion. Therefore, if you particularly have problems with cavities or enamel wear between the teeth, fluoride dental floss may be helpful for maintaining your oral health.
If you have questions about dental floss, fluoride or other oral health topics, feel free to discuss these with the helpful downtown dentists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group. For more information, continue to read our blog and procedural articles, contact us online, or call 916-538-6900.