A lot of us grew up in a time when fluoride was not a big deal and because of this, a lot of us have had cavities as kids. Nowadays, it’s pretty much the standard for fluoride to be in our city water, foods and toothpastes, and at the dental office so we can get needed exposure to it for healthier teeth.
Does everyone need fluoride? Fluoride helps our teeth become stronger and more resistant to plaque. Plaque forms on our teeth pretty much at all times and it is made up of acid which eats away or erodes minerals in our tooth enamel causing cavities. If we aren’t getting enough fluoride and other helpful minerals through the food we eat or water we drink, erosion happens faster than your enamel can restore itself.
Fluoride is extremely important for children and their developing teeth. It not only strengthens developing teeth but makes them more defensive against decay. It can also help reverse decay if caught early enough through remineralization.
There has been new research and evidence that fluoride is also helpful in adults. People who are on certain medications, like blood pressure meds, tend to have dry mouths which can be known to cause cavities (our mouths depend on the moisture that saliva provides). Intake of fluoride is beneficial in fighting decay, so it’s essential to use products that have fluoride such as toothpastes and mouth rinses. For those that generally tend to have more trouble with decay in their teeth, it has been shown that fluoride can be just as important in this case as with use in developing teeth in children.
Most dental offices offer a topical fluoride treatment. This is a great way to get a higher dose of fluoride applied directly to your teeth.You may also be able to purchase a mouth rinse with a higher concentration of fluoride at your dental office that is a prescription. This is our prescription toothpaste and in-office topical fluoride treatment at Szmanda Dental.
Some patients have mentioned concern about fluoride and that they don’t like that their city has control over what is put into their drinking water. The fact is, fluorinated drinking water is the most cost effective way to prevent cavities and it’s available to everyone. According to the American Dental Association, fluoride in water reduces tooth decay by 20-40% – read the full article here.
In general, fluoride is an important factor in preventing tooth decay and thankfully is easily accessible for everyone. If you are more cavity prone, there are ways of getting more fluoride at a higher concentration through your dental provider. And remember, drinking water is awesome, but if you are only drinking bottled water, you probably aren’t intaking any fluoride.
Information compiled from WebMD, ADA, and staff at Szmanda Dental 2014