Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why Should You Use Fluoride?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fluoride, when used correctly, is a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay. The CDC has supported the inclusion of fluoride in water and toothpaste to promote dental health.

Why is Fluoride Important to Dental Health?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. It replaces minerals lost in tooth enamel due to plaque, bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It helps people of all ages prevent and even reverse early decay. However, it is particularly important for certain age groups.

Fluoride is especially important for infants and children from six months to 16 years old because this is the time when primary (baby) teeth and permanent molars grow in. However, children under the age of six should use only dab of toothpaste that contains fluoride. Check with your dentist before choosing toothpaste for a young child and make sure you are supervising the tooth-brushing process.

Adults with certain conditions may also need added fluoride. These conditions include gum disease (gingivitis), frequent cavities and dental work such as crowns, bridges or braces that increase their risk of tooth decay. If you have any of these, ask your dentist if a fluoride supplement or treatment is warranted.

What are the Sources of Fluoride?

Close to two-thirds of the U.S. population has a water supply with adequate levels of fluoride and 43 of the 50 largest U.S. cities have water fluoridation systems. If you are not certain about the fluoride levels in your drinking water, check with the water supplier or your local dentist. If you get your water from a well, have a sample tested. Wherever your water comes from, if it does not contain fluoride, your dentist may recommend fluoride tablets or drops.

Most bottled water does not contain the recommended levels of fluoride. To find out how much fluoride bottled water contains, check the label or contact the manufacturer. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million.

Toothpaste is generally an excellent source of fluoride. Some brands of mouthwash also contain fluoride, so rinsing regularly with one of those will help your teeth. There are also prescription mouthwashes with higher concentrations of fluoride.

Fluoride supplements and treatments are available, but only through a prescription from your dentist.

Is Too Much Fluoride Dangerous?

It is difficult for adults to ingest a hazardous level of fluoride from fluoridated water, toothpaste and mouthwash. However, because children are smaller, their use of fluoridated products should be monitored, as noted previously. If you have a little one in the house, keep all products with fluoride out of their reach.

Too much fluoride can cause a condition called fluorosis. This can damage tooth enamel by causing white specks and brown discoloration. This generally occurs in young children. The discoloration can be removed by a dentist with professional-strength abrasives or bleaches.

The CDC agrees with experts in the field of dentistry about the importance of fluoride. It has stated that "frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride each day" reduces the risk of tooth decay. It recommends that people drink fluoridated water and brush their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.

Norcross Dental Associates is a comprehensive family dental practice. Their team of highly trained and experienced professionals provide general, restorative and cosmetic dentistry. The goal of Ken Tralongo, CEO of Tralongo Management, and each Norcross dentist specialist in his practice is to deliver top-quality care in a warm and compassionate environment.
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