About sixty years ago, Grand Rapids, Michigan was the first city to add fluoride to its water supply. Since then, fluoridated tap water has become commonplace because of the oral health benefits of fluoride. However, concerns have recently been raised about the amount of fluoride people ingest. We offer some basic facts about fluoride to make sure you are well-informed on the subject.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride comes from the element fluorine, one of the basic elements on the periodic table. It is a naturally occurring mineral in rocks and soil. When water washes over rocks, fluoride ions are released. Therefore, a small amount of fluoride is naturally present in most natural water supplies.
Necessity of Fluoride
Fluoride has been proven to prevent cavities. The first layer of a tooth, the enamel, is made out of strong strands of minerals. Yet, teeth cannot repair their enamel once it’s been eroded and compromised by organic and bacteria-produced acids. Fluoride makes teeth more resistant to the acid by fortifying your tooth enamel, protecting your teeth from cavities that could result from enamel erosion. Using products like fluoridated toothpaste will help strengthen your teeth.
How Common is Fluoride?
Besides being present in drinking water, fluoride is used in a variety of dental treatments. ADA approved fluoridated toothpaste may be recommended by your dentist to help strengthen weakened teeth. At our office, we may apply gels, varnishes, or pastes with fluoride in them as part of your routine cleaning, if necessary.
Is All of This Fluoride Safe?
Recently, the amount of fluoride being used in dental procedures has become a concern to some, with fluorosis being a common fear. Fluorosis is caused by a child taking in too much fluoride over a long period of time. Enamel fluorosis is not actually a disease, but a condition that affects the appearance of teeth, causing streaks or white spots on the teeth. The health of your teeth is not actually impacted, and teeth are only affected while still developing underneath the gums. Because of this, children who are still developing their permanent teeth are the only ones who can develop fluorosis; as an adult, your enamel is already formed, and unaffected by fluoride ingestion.
ABOUT YOUR SOUTHLAKE DENTISTS:
As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.