Recent study has finally solved the mystery of how the fluoride in drinking water, toothpastes, mouth rinses and other oral-care products prevents tooth decay.
Karin Jacobs and colleagues explain that despite a half-century of scientific research, controversy still exists over exactly how fluoride compounds reduce the risk of tooth decay.
That research established long ago that fluoride helps to harden the enamel coating that protects teeth from the acid produced by decay-causing bacteria. Newer studies already found that fluoride penetrates into and hardens a much thinner layer of enamel than previously believed, lending credence to other theories about how fluoride works.
The study has been published in the ACS journal Langumir.