Research has shown fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults. It also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Fluoride is like any other nutrient; it is safe and effective when used appropriately.
Does Your Tap Water Have Enough Fluoride?
If you have municipal water, then you can likely trust adequate fluoride is added to your water. However, your at-home water purification system can remove fluoride.
If you have well-water, then you will only know if adequate fluoride exists naturally by having your water tested. And, just like with city water, if you have an at-home water purification system it can remove the natural fluoride that may exist in your well-water also.
. WHY IS FLUORIDE IMPORTANT?
Fluoride Adds Strength to Your Teeth
It makes the tooth structure stronger, so teeth are more resistant to acid attacks. Acid is formed when the bacteria in plaque break down sugars and carbohydrates from the diet. Repeated acid attacks break down the tooth, which causes cavities.
Fluoride also acts to repair, or remineralize, areas in which acid attacks have already begun. The remineralization effect of fluoride is important because it reverses the early decay process – as well as creating a tooth surface that is more resistant to decay.
DOESN’T MY TOOTHPASTE HAVE ALL THE FAMILY NEEDS?
Two Ways Your Body Gets Fluoride
Topical fluorides go on your teeth and include toothpastes, mouth rinses and professionally applied fluoride therapies. These strengthen teeth already present in the mouth making them more decay-resistant.
*** Systemic fluorides are ingested into the body and become incorporated into forming tooth structures. This is where well-water low in fluoride, bottled water, and filtered water can get in your way. Systemic fluoride’s minerals give topical protection because fluoride is present in saliva, which continually bathes the teeth. Systemic fluorides include water with fluoride or dietary fluoride supplements in the form of tablets, drops or lozenges. (Note: It is also very important not to get too much fluoride.)
*** On a Personal Note…
I have two young boys. When the first was only a few months old, we had our well-water tested only to find that our water lacks an adequate amount of fluoride for our family. As a result, starting at age three each of our boys start taking a daily chewable fluoride supplement to ensure their teeth get all the benefits of systemic (ingested) fluoride.
As always, Comfort Dental’s mission is healthy smiles for a lifetime. If you have additional questions about fluoride or any other dental topic, we are here for you – and hope to see you soon!