Fluoride is one of those highly debated health topics these days, with many people who feel that it has well-established benefits for our health and wellness, while others worry about its possible side effects. At All Smiles Care, we feel that it is important to be well-informed and comfortable with your health decisions. The bottom line is this: when it comes to any health decision, including fluoride, we want you to openly discuss your options with your doctor and come to a decision you are happy with. Today, we just want to outline the proven benefits or fluoride
for your teeth.
There are many other facets of fluoride to consider, and we trust you’ll do your own research, and come to us with any questions or concerns you may have.
Since 1945, fluoride has been used in some capacity, whether through water fluoridation, fluoride in toothpastes, or fluoride dental treatments. Since then, fluoride has decreased tooth decay by 20 to 40%. Fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs in many foods and water, depending on the area. When acid comes in contact with the enamel of your tooth, it causes essential minerals to be lost. These minerals, including fluoride, are replaced through the foods and drinks we consume. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from decay by making them more resistant to plaque and acids. In children under the age of 6, fluoride is actually incorporated permanently into the adult teeth, although fluoride does benefit older children and adults as well in combating tooth decay.
People with higher incidence for plaque and tooth decay may benefit from additional fluoride treatment, as well as people with dry mouth, gum disease/gingivitis, and those with orthodontic appliances.
It is commonly accepted that fluoride is harmful at high levels, which is the reason for the warnings on adult toothpastes and mouth washes. Toxic doses are determined by weight. Keep an eye on your children and do not allow them to eat toothpaste with fluoride. Be sure to check the amount of fluoride in your water before giving your children fluoride tablets.
The use of fluoride in dentistry is preventative, and provides an opportunity to shield your teeth from plaque and decay. By doing this, you can save valuable time repairing dental issues, as well as money on dental emergencies–not to mention the pain of a cavity.
Unfortunately, dental decay and cavities are on the rise in the last five years, especially in children in the preschool age range. Up to 50% of children will have some sort of tooth decay by the age of 5 (see link for one of many articles discussing this recent problem). Health professionals attribute this increase to a number of factors, including sugary snacks and drinks, lack of regular, preventative dental care, and the decrease in the amount of children drinking fluoride in water (there has been a dramatic increase in the consumption of bottled water, which doesn’t generally contain fluoride).
Please discuss your views on fluoride with your dental health professional. At All Smiles Care, we’d be happy to talk with you about any questions you may have about fluoride, including in-house fluoride treatments. It is important to trust your dentist and communicate your concerns.