The mineral fluoride was first introduced to toothpaste and municipal water in the ’50s because of its ability to harden tooth enamel and fight decay-causing bacteria. But now, almost 80 years later, the war on cavities just got a little dirtier. Recent findings indicate that the bacteria that cause cavities can now fend off fluoride, brilliantly working to sabotage its tooth-positive effects. Scientists don’t know how bacteria do this, but when they do, it will offer the means to create an oral health regimen that is more bacteria-hostile.
But wait! Don’t abandon fluoride! Using fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, and flossing once a day, continues to be your best defense against plaque buildup and cavities. Regular professional hygiene (cleaning) appointments are also critical to maintaining a healthy smile.