What is tooth fluoridation and how does it work? Is it an effective method of preventing caries?

Oral health dramatically affects the overall health condition of every individual. The advancement of medical technology, modern methods of treatment and scientific research have contributed to the development of effective methods of prevention and treatment of dental conditions. Despite this, dental caries, as the most common oral disease, is still a significant health problem in societies around the world. Proper care of teeth and gums not only improves the comfort of eating or speaking, but also affects our mood and self-confidence, eliminating potential ailments and unfavourable aesthetic changes. One of the methods used to prevent caries is tooth fluoridation. What is tooth fluoridation and how does it work? Is it effective? Read on and find out!

What is caries and how does it develop?

Caries is a bacterial disease, the development of which is closely related to the metabolism of bacteria that inhabit the oral cavity and the resulting processes of demineralisation of tooth enamel. Understanding the mechanism of caries formation is crucial to effectively counteract its development and limit any damage. The process begins with the tooth surface accumulating bacterial plaque which contains various strains of bacteria.

These bacteria, by metabolising sugars present in the diet, produce acids that gradually destroy tooth enamel, leading to demineralisation. When this process continues uninterrupted, the loss of minerals from the enamel becomes significant, which manifests itself in characteristic changes – the formation of carious cavities.

What should you know about fluoride?

Fluoride participates in the remineralisation processes of tooth enamel, thus having the ability to strengthen the tooth structure and make it more resistant to bacterial acids. Its presence is also important in the remineralisation process, where it replenishes mineral deficiencies in the already existing enamel structure, thereby counteracting further demineralisation and degradation of tooth tissue.

Its mechanism of action in the context of dental prophylaxis is widely researched and confirmed by numerous scientific studies. Fluoride has gained recognition in the dental community, and it has found application not only in the dental office but also in everyday hygiene practices.

Tooth fluoridation – what is the process?

Tooth fluoridation is a dental treatment whose main objective is to increase the resistance of the tooth structure to the effects of external factors, primarily to the demineralising effect of acids formed in the mouth. The fluoridation process can be carried out in various ways, although the common feature of all methods is the application of fluoride compounds to the tooth surface, aimed at forming a strong and resistant protective layer. Various forms of fluoride are used in dental practice, such as gels, varnishes or foams, each tailored to the individual needs and capabilities of the patient, but also to the specificity of the dentist’s work.

Is fluoridation effective?

The use of fluoride in various forms – from dental gels and varnishes to its presence in toothpaste – is a significant factor in reducing the incidence of caries in both children and adults. Fluoride’s mechanism of action is believed to involve not only the process of remineralising enamel, by strengthening it and making it more resistant to acids, but also the inhibition of the activity of carious bacteria.

Nevertheless, it is important to emphasise that fluoridation, despite its proven benefits, is not a substitute for other equally important elements of oral health care, such as regular brushing, flossing and a healthy, balanced diet.


Dental fluoridation, as a procedure aimed at strengthening enamel and protecting it from the aggressive action of microorganisms and acids, is gaining a recognised place in dental practice. This process involves the application of preparations containing fluoride to the surface of the teeth. This substance penetrates deep into the enamel structure, promoting its remineralisation and preventing the further development of carious processes. The obvious value of this method lies in its preventive nature. However, it is worth remembering that teeth should be brushed regularly and we should periodically visit the dentist’s office.