There is a lot of debate and misinformation that circulates about fluoride, its effectiveness and safety.
Benefits of Fluoride
Fluoride is a mineral that has many dental benefits for children and adults that aren’t as easily achieved through other means. One benefit of fluoride is that it helps close the pores in teeth so you’re less sensitive to cold and touch overall.
Fluoride also replaces the calcium ion inside of the bony structure of teeth with a fluoride ion, therefore reducing the risk of cavities. This is because the fluoride ion is much stronger than calcium and is resistant to the acid produced by bacteria on our mouth. But we need to continually bring fluoride into our oral environment because both calcium and fluoride ions float freely and are exchanged based on whichever is in higher concentration.
Fluoride is our biggest weapon in preventative dental care, and not only does it help strengthen children’s new teeth, but it prevents tooth decay in people of all ages and helps repair teeth that are in the very early stages of decay. According to the American Dental Association, fluoride in drinking water prevents tooth decay in children and adults by at least 25 percent.
How safe is fluoride?
Numerous studies and extensive research have found time and time again that fluoride is safe in appropriate levels determined for drinking water, toothpaste, mouth rinse and supplements. In fact, research dates back over 80 years, when scientists realized that fluoride in drinking water was a powerful way to combat tooth decay. The first major study into whether fluoride in drinking water affected decay found the rate of dental caries (tooth decay) in children born after it was added to drinking water dropped by 60 percent over 11 years.
Similar results were found across the United States showing that dental health improved as people came in contact with fluoride.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called fluoride in water the most cost-effective method of community-based tooth decay prevention in terms of cost per saved tooth surface.
HOW CAN I GET FLUORIDE?
Many communities across the country add fluoride to drinking water as an effective, low-cost way to expose people to fluoride, regardless of age, income and education. Contact your municipality to see whether your community uses fluoride in drinking water.
Most toothpaste includes fluoride as an ingredient. A toothpaste package usually clearly states whether it has fluoride.
Some individuals are at a higher risk for tooth decay, so they can benefit from fluoride supplements or fluoride treatments in our office
Factors that may make a person a higher risk for tooth decay include:
poor oral hygiene
early stages of tooth decay
an eating disorder or poor diet
drug or alcohol abuse
lack of regular professional dental care
high levels of caries-causing bacteria in the mouth
dry mouth, and therefore, a decreased salivary flow
exposed root of the teeth
tooth enamel defects
In-office treatments take a few minutes. If you see us for a fluoride treatment, we use a brush to apply the fluoride varnish, which has a gooey texture. Our method helps ensure that you ingest the least amount of fluoride, while your teeth get the maximum amount of contact. Depending on your dental health, fluoride treatments may be suggested every three, six or 12 months.
If you would like more information about fluoride treatments or have any questions about fluoride, please get in touch with us at Applewood Dental! We are eager to help. Reach Dr. Manzo and Dr. Cettie by emailing ApplewoodDentalWR@gmail.com or calling the office at 303-237- 2707.