Fluoride can provide incredible benefits for dental health for kids and adults alike. However, some of the information available online has caused some people to question the efficacy and safety of fluoride. Here’s the word from your trusted dentists: fluoride is on your side.
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral. Most bodies of water– lakes, rivers, deep wells, the oceans–are naturally fluoridated already! The ocean has 1.3ppm (parts per million) fluoride, and fresh water has a much lower fluoride at .01-.03 ppm.
What fluoride does
Fluorides are compounds of the naturally occuring element and other molecules. Before baby teeth emerge, fluoride from food and drink strengthens tooth enamel, making it resistant to tooth decay by incorporating itself into the mineral structure of teeth, replacing hydroxyapatite with fluorapatite. This makes enamel stronger and more resistant to forming cavities in the right quantities.
After teeth have already erupted, fluoride helps by reinforcing that mineral coating in the tooth enamel, strengthening it and repairing early stages of tooth decay.
That’s why brushing and rinsing with fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses helps so much in preventing tooth decay. Each day we expose our teeth to food and liquid with the potential to be processed by bacteria in our mouth that create a byproduct of acid that can eat away at enamel. Fluoride exposure helps to repair these micro-damages before they become significant enough to become a cavity.
Fluoridated water and toothpaste
The United States Public Health Service considered the data on fluoride benefits and risks and determined a safe amount to place in water is .7 mg/L. This amount supplements other exposures to fluoride (toothpaste and foods) and is considered the minimum amount needed to show the benefit to dental health while minimizing any risk that may be associated with fluoride. While researchers have looked at the connection between fluoride and bone diseases, cancers, autism and ADHD, there is little in the way of scientific evidence connecting fluoride as the cause.
Brush with fluoride toothpaste and visit your dentist for fluoride protection
The benefits far outweigh the risks, according to scientists. Start the dental hygiene habit early. Tooth strengthening with fluoride is appropriate starting at the toddler age when a thin smear of toothpaste may be used during daily brushing. At three years, they can brush with a pea-sized amount. Over six years old, they can use mouth rinses with fluoride as swish and spit skills are adequate.
Now that school’s back in session and your kids won’t be under your close supervision for all of their meals, fluoride application can help protect their teeth from cavities.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.