Fluoride has been held in high regard by the dental community for decades as an important mineral that is absorbed into and strengthens tooth enamel, thereby helping to prevent decay of tooth structures.
In nearly every U.S. community, public drinking supplies are supplemented with sodium fluoride because the practice is acknowledged as safe and effective in fighting cavities.
Some private wells may contain naturally fluoridated water.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a compound of the element fluorine, which can found throughout nature in water, soil, air and food. By adding fluoride into our drinking water, it can be absorbed easily into tooth enamel, especially in children’s growing teeth, which helps to reduce tooth decay.
Why Is Fluoride Important To Teeth?
Fluoride is absorbed into structures, such as bones and teeth, making them stronger and more resistant to fractures and decay. Each time we eat or drink, the bacteria in our mouths creates an acidic environment which takes our bodies 20 minutes to neutralize. This frequent daily exposure to acids demineralizes teeth leading to decay. A process in your body called "remineralization" uses fluoride to repair damage caused by decay. The proper amount of fluoride from infancy through old age helps prevent and control tooth decay.
How Do I Get Fluoride?
Just drinking public water will provide a certain measure of fluoride protection. But for years, health professionals have endorsed the practice of supplementing our intake with topical fluorides found in many toothpastes and rinses. Certain kinds of dental varnishes and gels may also be applied directly to teeth to boost fluoride intake.
Here at your Savannah Family Dentist we offer fluoride treatments at every cleaning appointment. Insurance will typically cover children’s fluoride and more and more insurance companies are covering fluoride treatment for adults.
It is generally NOT safe to swallow toothpastes, rinses, or other products containing topical fluoride. In rare cases, some people may be overexposed to high concentrations of fluoride, resulting in a relatively harmless condition called fluorosis, which leaves dark enamel stains on teeth.
Community water fluoridation is a widely accepted practice for preventing and controlling tooth decay by adjusting the concentration of fluoride in the public water supply.
CDC web site provides information on community water fluoridation
People seeking information on whether their water system is fluoridated can now find out by visiting a new Web site at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new feature, "My Water`s Fluoride," allows consumers in participating states to check out basic information about their water system, including the number of people served by the system and the target fluoridation level. Optimal levels recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC for drinking water range from 0.7 parts per million (ppm) for warmer climates, to 1.2 ppm for cooler climates accounting for the tendency to drink more water in warmer climates. States that are currently participating include Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Bottled water, home water treatment systems, and fluoride exposure
Can the consistent use of bottled water result in individuals missing the benefits of optimally fluoridated water? Can home water treatment systems (e.g., water filters) affect optimally fluoridated water supplies? The answer is yes to both. Read how you can avoid some of the pitfalls that may be preventing you from getting the maximum value of fluoride, in this article from the American Dental Association: http://www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_30.pdf