Why Dentists Recommend Fluoride
Despite years and years of research, fluoride has gotten a bit of a bad reputation from the natural health community. The truth is, this naturally occurring mineral is perfectly safe and has helped both children and adults maintain healthy teeth since it was first added to toothpaste in the 1890s. So how exactly does fluoride protect your teeth and why does the American Dental Association (and every dentist I know) recommend it?
How Fluoride Works
Even before your first baby tooth erupted, fluoride was strengthening your teeth. As a naturally occurring substance, fluoride is present in many foods and beverages (including water). The body absorbs the fluoride, providing what is known as a systemic benefit.
While you continue to enjoy systemic benefits of fluoride throughout your life, it’s using fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses that provide topical benefits. When the fluoride comes in contact with your teeth, it fortifies weakened tooth enamel and protects your teeth from decay.
Fluoride is found in most natural water sources, and for decades, it has been added to public water supplies. Before that, children had three times more cavities than they tend to these days. Because many people prefer the taste of filtered water, they may not be enjoying as many systemic benefits. That is why it is necessary for the health of your teeth to use a fluoride toothpaste and, if necessary, a fluoride mouth rinse, as well. If you’re genetically prone to decay, I can also provide you with a professional fluoride treatment to help keep cavities at bay.
Word of Caution
While fluoride is safe, if it ingested in large amounts, it can harm small children. It is recommended that children under six years old use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and avoid using fluoridated mouth rinses to prevent ingesting harmful amounts. As always, be sure to supervise your child or grandchild when they brush.
No matter how much fluoride you get, nothing prevents plaque, tartar, cavities, and gum disease like a professional cleaning. If it’s time for your semi-annual cleaning and exam, contact my office to schedule an appointment. I look forward to seeing you.