The Truth About Fluoride
A key part of a healthy lifestyle is the intake of essential vitamins and minerals. With proper nutrients the human body can function at its optimal level. One vital part of your body is your oral cavity, through which your body gets nutrients when you eat every day. Can you imagine how different you would feel if you could not eat or drink comfortably due to an unhealthy mouth? Your mouth is a specific microenvironment that deserves as much attention as the rest of your body. With proper care, you can maintain healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime.
Many different types of bacteria occur naturally in your mouth and feed on the sugars and carbohydrates found in food that you eat. When bacteria consume sugars, they release acidic by-products. As a result, the structures in your mouth, specifically your teeth, are subject to constant cycles of acid demineralization. The acids dissolve the enamel, or outer hard surface, of the tooth. There are two ways you can fight this ongoing process: your body’s natural ability to buffer this acid attack using your saliva, or by using fluoride.
Fluoride mainly works when it is applied to the surface of the affected tooth. The fluoride molecules combine with the structure of the enamel and create an even stronger, reinforced surface. In children whose teeth are still growing, fluoride has even been shown to help strengthen the developing teeth when taken in the form of vitamins. Since the 1940s, fluoride has been added to drinking water as a part of a wide public health measure to decrease tooth decay. Unfortunately, drinking water in Nassau County is NOT fluoridated, which makes using topical fluoride that much more important.
While fluoride is promoted by the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization and accepted by the majority of the public, there are still some misconceptions regarding its use. There have been no reputable studies that show a relation between fluoride and systemic health issues if used correctly according to established guidelines. The main precaution that should be taken with fluoride use is during pregnancy.
Care should also be taken to not ingest fluoride from too many sources (i.e., fluoridated water AND fluoride vitamins, or swallowing toothpaste). Too much fluoride can cause the condition skeletal fluorosis which typically occurs when one’s fluoride levels are too high.
If you are concerned about the amount of fluoride you are using you can contact us at Smiles Unlimited Dentistry, P.C. for more information.