Fluoride is an essential mineral found naturally in water. It helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening teeth enamel. However, too much fluoride can be harmful.
We discuss fluoride, its benefits and dangers and the possible solutions including fluoride treatment. Fluoride treatment is one of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Find out more about fluoride treatment here!
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral in our environment. It occurs as a result of volcanic activity and weathering of rocks. As a result, we are constantly exposed to small amounts of fluoride.
Fluoride is naturally present in water and soil. It also helps strengthen tooth enamel by making it harder and less porous. This makes teeth stronger and less likely to decay.
Here are some quick fun facts about fluoride:
Fluoride is found in tap water mostly around 0.5–1 ppm. The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) recommends 0.7 parts per million (ppm) as the optimal fluoride level in drinking water for reducing the risk of tooth decay. In addition to drinking water, fluoride is also added to some foods and beverages.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
- Children who drink more than 1 cup of milk each day are exposed to approximately 2 ppm of fluoride.
- Adults who consume 3 cups of coffee daily receive about 4 ppm of fluoride.
What Are The Dangers Of Fluoride?
Fluoride is an important element that prevents cavities in our teeth. But too much fluoride can also cause problems for people with kidney disease, thyroid disorders, diabetes, and other medical conditions. Talk to your doctor before taking any medication containing fluoride.
Too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, a condition characterized by white spots on the teeth. This condition is not harmful in mild cases, but it does make teeth appear unsightly and these spots usually fade over time. But permanent damage can occur in moderate to severe cases of dental fluorosis.
As dentists, we know that one of the best ways to reduce the risk of dental fluorosis is to educate our patients about fluoride and how to properly care for their teeth.
5 Top Tips To Take Care Of Your Teeth
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that live on our teeth. We discuss the best tips to help fight these harmful germs including fluoride treatment.
- Brush with a Toothpaste Containing Fluoride
If you brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, you will reduce your chances of developing dental caries (cavities). You should also use a soft bristle brush to remove plaque and tartar buildup.
- Drink Water That Contains Fluoride
Fluoride is added to our drinking water as a preventive measure against cavities. So, if your community has access to fluoridated water, it can help if you have the problem of dental caries. Drinking fluoridated water can also help reduce the need for invasive procedures such as root canal therapy.
- Check The Label Of Bottled Drinking Water
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water products and it does not require its manufacturers to list the amount of fluoride on the label unless they have added it within set limits.
If the bottled water manufacturers have added the recommended fluoride levels, they can add the health claim,
“Drinking fluoridated water may reduce the risk of [dental caries or tooth decay].”
If there is no information about the fluoride content and levels in the bottled water product, you may check with the manufacturer about it. Since there is no compulsion for bottled water product manufacturers to display their fluoride levels, it may not be the best water to drink for your dental health.
- Follow A Healthy Diet
Make sure to include fluoride to your diet such as brewed tea, marine fish such as sardines, canned meats, grape juice, and hot dogs.
You can eat foods high in calcium such as seeds, milk, cheese, yogurt, sardines and canned salmon, beans and lentils, almonds, figs, whey protein, leafy greens, amaranth, edamame, tofu, and fortified foods like cereals, tortillas, breads, crackers.
You can also include food high in vitamin D such as salmon, herring, sardines, cod liver oil, canned tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms and fortified foods such as cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereal and oatmeal.
- Opt For Fluoride treatment
Fluoride treatments help to strengthen teeth and help prevent decay.
Fluoride treatment is used to prevent cavities by coating the teeth. They contain fluoride, which helps strengthen enamel.
Fluoride varnishes are also known as “dentist varnish” because they are applied directly to the teeth by dentists. They are safe for use for both children and adults.
Fluoride treatment or varnishes are used to protect the teeth by reducing the amount of acid that attacks the surface of the teeth. This reduces the chance of developing cavities.
There are different kinds of varnishes available. For instance, some varnishes contain fluoride, which helps prevent cavities. Others contain zinc oxide, which protects against staining. And still others contain other ingredients such as xylitol, which reduces plaque buildup.
Discuss your case with your dentist to choose one based on what kind of protection you need.
Consult Your Dentist About The Best Fluoride Treatment for Your Teeth
If you notice any signs of dental decay or fluorosis, such as white spots on the teeth, talk with your dentist about whether fluoride treatment might be beneficial.