Since fluoride was introduced to communities as a public health measure back in the late 1940s, it has proven to be the greatest cavity fighter we have. Most of us are familiar with fluoride as an additive to our water supply, but ever since we were children, we’ve ingested microscopic amounts of this naturally-occurring mineral in food. And there are other fluoride treatments that can be of great benefit to your oral and dental health.
Before we get started on the importance of fluoride and the impact it has on your overall dental health, we’ll address a common myth about fluoride.There are some who believe that fluoride is harmful to your health. Some don’t use it at all because they believe fluoride is a carcinogen that causes osteosarcoma (a rare type of bone cancer) in boys younger than 19.
But studies by the Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada haven’t found a link between water fluoridation and cancer. In fact, another study shows that water fluoridation is effective at reducing levels of tooth decay among children.
So, now that the myth has been debunked about fluoride, let’s discuss how fluoride works and how it helps to prevent cavities. Fluoride helps prevent cavities in two ways:
- It helps harden enamel in infants before their teeth start to grow in.
- It helps harden enamel in adults that have already grown.
If you’re drinking water is fluorinated (which in most parts of North America it is), then brushing with fluoride toothpaste is sufficient. If you’re from a part of the world where water does not have enough fluoride in it (about one part per million), then we may prescribe fluoride tablets or drops for you to take daily. To be sure, or if you have any questions about “how much is too much fluoride,” ask one of our friendly team members at Battle Creek Family Dentistry.
How your smile can benefit from fluoridated toothpaste
The foods you eat (i.e., salty or sweet snacks) create bacteria that live on your teeth. This bacteria produces an acid that causes the enamel, calcium, and phosphate to be stripped away from your teeth. This is why your saliva is so important. If you’re drinking water and using a fluoridated toothpaste, it helps to wash away some of the bacteria on your teeth. The calcium and phosphate will help keep your teeth strong.
If you have questions about fluoride treatment, call us at 269-841-5049 to speak to one of our team members. We’d be happy to answer all your questions!