The Truth About Your Tooth

What Everyone Needs To Know About Fluoride And Dental Health

Many know that fluoride for dental care has been a bit controversial. Fluoride can be in your water as well as in some dental products like toothpaste and its use has come under question. Most dentists strongly advocate its use, however. To help you decide if fluoride is right for you and your family, read on.

Fluoride: It's a Natural Substance

Some might be under the impression that fluoride is a manufactured chemical added to the drinking water. However, fluoride is actually a natural mineral found in the soil and in certain types of food. While controversial, the American Dental Association (ADA) has found that fluoride is perfectly safe for everyone and they point out that it is beneficial to be added to public drinking water supplies throughout the country. Studies show that in places where fluoride is added to the water supply, people have fewer cavities.

Why Is Fluoride Under Scrutiny?

If you consume too much of almost anything, it can be dangerous and fluoride is no exception. When too much fluoride is used, the appearance of teeth in some (mostly children), can become spotted with white areas. These spots are only cosmetic and they don't harm the enamel of the tooth. If any discoloration does occur, however, the spots tend to fade over time. The conservative use of fluoride under the care of a dentist outweighs any possible negative consequences. The way decay ravages your teeth can be prevented by using an inexpensive and safe mineral found in nature so it's a win-win situation.

What Does Fluoride Do?

As permanent teeth emerge in children, fluoride can reduce the acids found on the surface of developing teeth. Acids are the culprit in the buildup of tartar and plaque, which can lead to cavities. In addition to that, regular fluoride consumed in drinking water or applied directly on the teeth by your dentist can reduce the bacteria levels in the mouth. Bacteria can cause decay, gum disease, and infections in the mouth. Some gum infections can cause permanent harm to the bones in your jaw area. Only a bone graft can repair a jawbone that has deteriorated from the loss of a tooth or gum disease. Finally, fluoride can help with the breaking down of tooth enamel (known as demineralization). That helps keep teeth strong and stable, preventing cracks and breaks.

To learn more about what fluoride can do to improve the dental health of your family, speak to a family dentist.