Sometimes controversial, often used and always encouraged by Cosmetic Dental Associates.
Where does fluoride originate? No, not the tap water, although that is where we find it most often in our household. Fluoride comes from a chemical ion of the element fluorine – fluoride has one extra electron that gives it a negative charge. Fluoride is found naturally in soil, water, foods, and several minerals, such as fluorapatite and fluorite.
The Benefits of Fluoride
For 65 years, community water fluoridation has been a safe and healthy way to effectively prevent tooth decay. The CDC has recognized water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. The number of communities and people who benefit from water fluoridation is continuing to increase. This safe, healthy, and effective public health intervention was initiated in 1945. In 2008, 72.4% of the U.S. population on public water systems, or a total of 195,545,109 people, had access to fluoridated water. Fluoride reduces the presence of tooth decay and reverses the progression of existing lesions (i.e., helps prevent cavities). Today, all Americans are exposed to fluoride to some degree, and there is little doubt that widespread use of fluoride has been a major factor in the overall decline in tooth decay in the United States and other economically developed countries (Bratthall et al. 1996). Fluoride is extremely useful in preventing cavities and making teeth stronger. It helps add minerals to the demineralized enamel when bound fluoride is released during an acid challenge, resulting in a more acid-resistant enamel surface structure.*
There have been some concerns that fluoride may be linked to a variety of health conditions, including bone problems. Extensive research has found no evidence to support these concerns and scientists agree that water containing the correct amount of fluoride and fluoride toothpaste have a significant benefit to oral health, help reduce tooth decay and do not cause any harmful side effects to a person’s overall health. However, a condition called dental fluorosis can occur if a child’s teeth are exposed to too much fluoride when they are developing. This can occur if children take fluoride supplements at less than seven years of age and live in areas where the water supply is fluoridated. Talk with your 33 Smile Dental Association dentist about the best way to make sure your family is receiving proper fluoride treatment to keep those pearly whites healthy!
(*Sources: Centers for Disease Control: cdc.gov; Oral Heath in America- Report from the Surgeon General: http://www2.nidcr.nih.gov/sgr/sgrohweb/chap7.htm; Medical News Today http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154164.php)