March 1, 2018
Did you know that the discovery that fluoride benefits the teeth happened by accident? In the early 1900’s, a dentist living in Colorado noticed that his patients had incredibly strong teeth and very few cavities. Eventually it was discovered that the natural water supply had fluoride in it. Then in the 1940’s, an experiment was done in Grand Rapids in which fluoride was added to the water supply. Researchers monitored the rate of cavities among nearly 30,000 schoolchildren over 15 years and found that children born after fluoridation had 60% fewer cavities. As a family dentist in Weymouth, we’ll review how you can get the most out of this important mineral and how it can keep everyone in the family out of the dental chair!
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens your teeth in much the same way calcium strengthens your bones.
There are two main ways to get the benefits of fluoride:
- Topically – Fluoride can be applied with toothpastes, rinses and professional treatments.
- Ingested – It can also be ingested through drinking a fluoridated water supply or taking fluoride supplements.
Ingesting fluoride through supplementation is only beneficial to children because it adds strength to their developing teeth that haven’t erupted yet. Once the teeth have come in the window of opportunity to incorporate fluoride into them has passed.
Having said that, applying fluoride topically will still do a lot to strengthen teeth and counteract the acids that are produced in the mouth after meals.
These acids wear away at the teeth and cause cavities over time. The daily use of fluoride will deposit valuable mineral into the enamel and keep it strong.
In addition, topical fluoride can also help immensely with cold sensitivity. It’s not uncommon to experience sensitivity when whitening the teeth. There are some great high-fluoride pastes we can prescribe that can allow even the most cold-sensitive patient to comfortably whiten their teeth.
Why Is Fluoride In the Water?
As with anything else, too much of a good thing can be detrimental, so the right dose is very important! That’s why fluoridated water is so beneficial. You don’t have to think about it at all, so there’s much less room for error.
Most of the communities in the U.S. have a fluoridated water supply. For people who don’t live in one of these areas, fluoride supplementation can be prescribed for children in the right dose for their age and weight.
Fluoride has been hailed as one of the most beneficial public health measures of the 20th century. It’s helped countless people by minimizing the amount of dental work that they need over their lifetime. When it comes to your oral health, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
About the Author
All of the doctors at Columbia Square Dental are dedicated to providing outstanding comprehensive dental care. In particular, they strive to prevent dental problems rather than treat them and use a variety of tools to do that – including fluoride. If you have any questions, they can be reached through their website or at (781) 337-6644.
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