For decades there have been debates about the safety and efficacy of fluoride in water and toothpaste. But this natural mineral is easily found in our soil, food sources, and seafood. As scientists continue to research it, we learn more about how fluoride—like calcium—is essential for building healthy, strong bones and teeth.
Comparing Fluoridated and Non-Fluoridated Water
In one recent study, two different major Canadian cities were observed. One had fluoridated municipal water, the other did not. Not surprisingly, the city without the fluoride in their water systems saw negative side effects such as more prevalent tooth decay and weaker enamel in the 2nd grade children in the study. The city that had fluoride showed a lower cavity rate in schoolchildren.
Where to Get Fluoride
Like any vitamin or mineral, fluoride intake should be monitored. Too much Fluoride can have negative effects such as upset stomach or, when long term, physical changes in the appearance of the teeth. But at healthy levels, fluoride promotes better oral health and lower rates of tooth decay. Frankly, this is similar to how appropriate calcium intake is encouraged to assist in creation and maintenance of strong bones.
Some simple ways to ensure healthy fluoride intake include:
- Drinking water from the tap, instead of purchasing commercial bottled water at the store (where fluoride may not be regulated or included
- Using fluoride toothpaste two times a day. A small pea-sized amount is more than enough
- Rinsing with an over-the-counter fluoride mouthwash before going to bed
- Eating fresh vegetables and seafood
Professional Fluoride Treatment
In some cases, a higher concentration of fluoride will need to be applied to teeth. Such as after dental cleanings or if your child is at an elevated risk of tooth decay. Our Michigan dentists can prescribe and apply fluoride varnish, when appropriate.
Is your tap water fluoridated? If it isn’t, it might be time to talk to your neighbors and city officials to truly make a difference in your children’s future. Or, if you don’t know, you can request this information from your local ordinance or get a water test kit to see what’s in your water.
We encourage healthy application of fluoride to reduce the negative effects of tooth decay. Prevention of dental health problems is our primary objective and dental specialists.