How Fluoride Helps Prevent Cavities

Though many people are familiar with the advice that fluoride can help prevent cavities, not everyone understands how, or why it’s important. If you don’t, then you might skip checking if a certain toothpaste contains the mineral before you buy it, or you might not understand the significance if your dentist recommends a topical fluoride treatment. To clarify, we explain just how fluoride helps prevent cavities, and why it’s become a staple of effective dental hygiene.

A Tooth with a Cavity

Have you ever wondered how a cavity develops? It begins when bacteria found in dental plaque attack the enamel around your teeth by producing acid. Poor hygiene practices can leave your tooth enamel weak, and eventually, bacteria will infect the tooth with decay, and a cavity (hole) will form. Therefore, keeping your tooth enamel strong and effective is the cornerstone of preventing cavity formation.

The Science that Binds Fluoride and Dental Health

Tooth enamel is made almost completely of specially-formed mineral crystals. The minerals consist mainly of calcium and phosphate, but enamel is also compatible with fluoride and other minerals. By applying fluoride, either through toothpaste or as a topical treatment at the dentist’s office, you can allow the mineral to bind to acid-weakened enamel, reducing your risks of forming a cavity.

Other Ways to Prevent Cavities

As effective as fluoride is, it isn’t the most important element of cavity prevention. To keep your teeth safe, be sure to attend yourdental checkups and cleanings every six months, or as often as recommended by your dentist. In the meantime, be sure to brush and floss your teeth at least twice every day, and after each meal, if possible. Also,  refrain from drinking sodas, fruit juices, energy drinks, and other highly-acidic and sugary beverages.


Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced general, restorative, and family dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Pecan Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you and your family are new or returning patients, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111.