Why sharks don’t get cavities – A lesson in fluoride

Sharks have the healthiest teeth in the animal kingdom. That’s pretty impressive seeing as sharks average around 15 rows of teeth in each jaw. Some sharks end up growing and shedding up to 30,000 teeth in their lifetime. Great pearly White Shark, that’s a lot of teeth! How do sharks keep all their teeth looking so porcelain and clean? Well for one, they don’t drink a lot of sugary beverages or candies. It also turns out that sharks have a fluoride coating on their teeth. In fact, their teeth contain 100% fluoride.   Makes sense that they would have their own type of travel toothpaste since they always seem to be on the move.

Why is fluoride so important?

Fluoride is an active ingredient in most toothpastes and is even added to water throughout the country. It’s extremely important in fighting against tooth decay. It protects teeth by restoring the loss of minerals on the tooth enamel. When our teeth lose those minerals on the enamel, it opens the doors to cavities. Think of fluoride as a protective shield, keeping acids that eat through the tooth’s surface at bay. If plaque and tartar are allowed to accumulate on teeth for an extended period of time, it can allow for dangerous bacteria to grow next to the gums. By getting routine teeth cleanings harmful build is removed from your tooth and leaves the tooth surface smooth and clean in order to stop bacteria from developing.

 

How to make sure you are getting enough fluoride:

  • Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral and is found in various foods and water.
  • Mouthwashes and toothpastes often contain fluoride. Your dentist may even apply higher doses of fluoride in a gel or foam form when you have a checkup.
  • Sometimes a doctor may decide that you need a fluoride supplement. These are available in liquid or tablet form.
  • Fluoride is also important for adults – It’s important to continue to use fluoride toothpaste even after the ‘formative years’ for teeth
  • Too much fluoride can be a bad thing. Knowing how much your city puts in water is important.

 

It just doesn’t seem fair that a mammal with thousands of replaceable teeth also has the advantage of never getting cavities. Throw a dog a bone! Unfortunately, humans can’t regenerate teeth each time we get a new cavity, so remember to brush and floss daily because this is the only real set of teeth you’ll have!

If you have questions about whether you’re getting enough fluoride, contact us to make an appointment for a routine cleaning.

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