We’ve all heard of fluoride, but many people aren’t too sure what it actually is. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation available – so we would like to provide some facts about Fluoride, to put your mind and ease, but also to tell you the benefits for you and your family.
- How Fluoride works. The bacteria that lives in the mouth feeds on sugars in the foods and drinks we consume. The bacteria then produces the acid that wears away the enamel of the teeth, which in turn leads to cavities. Fluoride makes our teeth stronger and better able to resist this acid. In fact, fluoride can not only reduce the risk of cavities but also “heal” the teeth showing the early signs of decay. In many communities, fluoride is added to the tap water for this reason.
- Why some people are afraid of Fluoride. Fluoride is naturally found in the soil, and in the water and foods we eat, but is also created synthetically for treating drinking water. Too much fluoride can poison people – causing issues ranging from dental fluorosis or neurological disorders. Dental fluorosis can be seen when the teeth get white lines or dots in them. This does not structurally damage the teeth but can indicate an excess of fluoride. Skeletal fluorosis and thyroid conditions can also result from extremely high exposure and consumption of fluoride.
- Why you still want Fluoride. Children under 6 should not use fluoride mouth rinse, and fluoride should never be swallowed. However, normal use of toothpaste, fluoride rinse, fluoride treatments at the dentist and treated water will not cause any problems in children or adults. The health benefits are great and the risks low when fluoride is used as it is intended. Additionally, if you are living in an area where fluoride is not added to the drinking water, let your dentist know. Additional fluoride treatments can be added to your child’s regular check-up.
If you are concerned with fluoride, or interested in how it works, please let us know at your next visit, or schedule an appointment today. Part of our mission is to help educate our patients and it would be a pleasure to talk to you about this, or any dental subject of concern.