What Is Fluoride?
This planet has a lot of fluorides, a mineral that is a component of sodium fluoride. However, the importance of its discovery wasn’t until the 1930s.
Since then, the American Medical Association and World Health Organization strongly advised fluoridated water to reduce tooth decay. In addition to your fluoride toothpaste, there are other topical applications like varnishes, gels, and mouth rinses to protect your teeth.
The use of fluoride in dentistry dates back to the early 1900s. A dentist named Frederick McKay discovered that nearly 90% of natives in Colorado had severe brown staining on their teeth. Colorado Brown Stain was the name given to this issue subsequently.
After noticing this unusual occurrence, McKay began working with another dentist, G.V. Black. They began to learn more about this rare disease through their collaboration. The two dentists came up with two important discoveries after extensive research:
- The brown stains were the result of a condition known as fluorosis. This condition occurs due to overexposure to fluoride.
- Affected people had teeth that were strangely resistant to tooth decay.
Dentist McKay soon determined the source of the brown staining. It turns out this was due to a water supply rich in fluoride. This is not surprising given the abundance of natural fluoride deposits in the Western United States at the time.
Fluoride In Dentistry
A 15-year fluoridation study of the Grand Rapids waters took place in the 1940’s. Many researchers kept track of the tooth decay rate among nearly thirty thousand Grand Rapids schoolchildren during the study. In the end, a startling discovery was made after 11 years of research. The cavity rate was sixty-percent lower among kids born after fluoridation started in Grand Rapids.
Due to the experiment’s success, states decided to proceed with public water fluoridation systems to reduce cavities. Fluoride is now essential to protect the teeth from germs that cause acid in the mouth.
Different Forms Of Fluoride Therapy Include:
- Toothpaste: Most toothpaste has fluoride. They contain about 0.22% fluoride to help prevent cavities.
- Water fluoridation: Most states add fluoride to the water supply to reduce cavities. Hawaii is one of the few states without fluoridated water.
- Gel: Gels can help those who are more prone to cavities. Gels may be advisable if you also have a decreased salivary flow. Some gels are available at home and have the same viscosity as toothpaste. Consult your dentist right away to learn more about these products.
- Mouthwash: Fluoride is present in mouthwash to help strengthen teeth and lower the chance of tooth decay. Additionally, it has antimicrobial elements to combat bacteria that cause plaque to build. It also helps to lessen foul breath.
- Varnish: Using a brush, you apply this straight to your teeth, and after a little while, it sets. It seeks to defend your teeth against microorganisms that could lead to significant gum issues.
Fluoride Fortifies Your Teeth Against Decay
In her article for Parents, Rebecca Felsenthal notes that tooth decay is more prevalent in young children “than any other chronic illness,” such as “asthma and diabetes.” Many factors may be responsible for this, including the prevalence of fluoride-free bottled water and the amount of sugar in the standard American diet. In addition, by using the same dining utensils or toothbrushes, parents prone to cavities risk infecting their children with mouth bacteria.
How do cavities develop? In a nutshell, a cavity is a section of a tooth that collapses. Due to microorganisms consuming it, these places typically lack calcium. The likelihood of developing a cavity increases with the number of dangerous germs in your mouth. These microorganisms also enjoy sugar, which explains why people with heavy sugar diets are more prone to tooth decay than others.
By strengthening your teeth, fluoride in an average amount helps prevent cavities. Fluoride replaces the minerals your teeth lost when you consume it or wash your teeth, reversing the decaying process. It also links to other minerals in your teeth, like calcium and phosphate, making it more difficult for bacteria to enter the tooth.
Is Fluoride Safe?
Several reports have been circulated all through the globe about the safety and efficiency of fluoride. In fact, after long years of careful research, the scientific conclusion is that fluoridated water and toothpaste are essential to oral health.
Fluoride helps prevent cavities and has no adverse effects on a person’s overall health. However, research shows no proof that fluoride added to water has no adverse effects when used correctly.
On the other hand, those opposed to fluoridation claim that fluoride added to water is harmful. However, fluoride is entirely safe when used in the right amounts.
However, there are some instances where fluoride may be harmful:
Fluorosis can result from excessive use. As a result, bone and dental anomalies develop. Also, keep in mind the following:
- There may be acute poisoning by accidental ingestion of insecticides or rodenticides with fluoride salts that can cause death.
- Excess fluoride intake is toxic and can cause fluorosis as it weakens the enamel (causing more caries). It also weakens our bones (decalcification and osteoporosis).
- Too much fluoride can discolor or stain your teeth long-term.
- Especially between 1-and-a-half and three years old, children do not fully understand the act of brushing teeth. Thus, usually, the child swallows toothpaste, increasing their maximum daily dose of fluoride. For that reason, introduce fluoride toothpaste later for your child.
The ideal fluoride concentration in water is 0.7 parts per million (1 ppm). This amounts to 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water.
Benefits Of Fluoride
Fluoride is suitable for people of all ages because of the following benefits:
- Increases the resistance of enamel to dental caries.
- Assists young, developing secondary teeth.
- Minimize the amount of acid the bacteria present on the teeth produce.
- It promotes “remineralization” and facilitates entry into the structure of calcium and phosphate ions. This is because the fluoride holds a negative charge and attracts calcium and phosphate positively.
- It has antibacterial properties that attack the bacteria colonizing on the tooth surface.
- Fluoride helps with a deficit in calcium and Vitamin D. It helps treat osteoporosis and solidifies bones.
- Fluoride treatments are even more valuable if a person requires special oral care. For example, anyone who wears braces must also regularly receive fluoride treatments. In turn, this can impede bacteria from getting stuck beneath the wires.
Safely Introducing Fluoride To Your Infant
Before using toothpaste, seek medical or dental advice, and always supervise your child’s brushing because they cannot wash their teeth on their own.
With the right encouragement, your baby will develop into a young child with beautiful whites in good health.
How Do I Know If My Child Is Getting Enough Fluoride?
You simply cannot. You can come the closest to ensuring that they have enough by monitoring what they consume—do they drink enough fluoridated water? Are they getting enough of it in their meals? Does their toothpaste have fluoride? Just make sure you don’t overdo it.
While you may be unable to tell whether your child is getting enough, your dentist can. However, because it affects the teeth, babies must wait until six months old to schedule an appointment. During this time, your pediatric dentist will determine whether your child needs to increase their fluoride intake, which is often determined by the amount of plaque on their gums. During the visit, your dentist may also recommend a course of action to avoid further complications. In the meantime, good old-fashioned dental hygiene will suffice to keep the tides at bay until then.
10 Fluoride Facts
FACT #1 Fluoride naturally occurs in water. When at its best, it will both protect and whiten the teeth. The recommended fluoride level in water is 0.7 milligrams per liter.
FACT #2: Anyone can practice fluoridation. The United States was the first country to fluoridate its water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers it one of the “top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.”
FACT #3: Water fluoridation is not the primary cause of tooth decay reduction. It is common awareness that water fluoridation in the United States is responsible for the decline in the number of tooth decay cases. However, numerous other nations that do not fluoridate their water have experienced a similar decline.
FACT #4 Fluoride affects many tissues in the body, not just the teeth. Additionally, it impacts your bones, thyroid, pineal, blood sugar levels, and brain. Various health issues are linked to excessive fluoride intake, including:
- Brain damage
- Bone disorders
- Thyroid disease
- Low intelligence/IQ
- Hyperactivity or lethargy
- Muscle disorders
- Bone cancer
- Increased lead absorption
- Thyroid disease arthritis
- Bone fractures
- Lowered thyroid function
- Disrupted immune system
- Damaged sperm or increased infertility
- Increased tumor and cancer rate
FACT #5 Water fluoridation is a natural series of chemical operations. Most people do not believe fluorosilicic acid to be natural, even though it is the substance used to add fluoride to water in the U.S. The air pollution control equipment captures a biting acid. Because the gasses are hazardous air pollutants and can seriously harm the environment, fluorosilicic acid is being trapped. This is hazardous and might potentially cause cancer.
FACT #6 Fluoride exposure is essential for infants and children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In addition, it may be incredibly secure and efficient when used to prevent and manage cavities. Just be mindful of excessive exposure, which might result in tooth fluorosis.
FACT #7 Although most vitamin supplements are available over-the-counter, fluoride supplements are not for the prevention of tooth decay. A doctor’s prescription is necessary for supplements.
FACT #8 The only medication added to tap water is fluoride.
FACT #9 Teeth do not benefit as much when one swallows fluoride. According to research, it works best when it comes into contact with teeth directly. Direct intake through fluoride water or pill consumption is still advantageous, but not in the same manner.
FACT #10 Fluoride can greatly benefit countries with more difficult access to dental care.
Even though fluoride is the main factor contributing to improving our oral health, it is still crucial to comprehend its implications to prevent any adverse effects.