There have been some controversies over the use of fluoride, particularly in locations where it's added to the drinking water. To learn more about what fluoride is and what it can do for your family's teeth, read on.
The Benefits of Fluoride
For young children with teeth still in the development stages, fluoride can provide the child with strengthened enamel, which can come in handy when trying to protect against acids that lead to cavities. It's not just good for growing teeth but fluoride benefits adult teeth too, by working against a natural process known as demineralization. This process is part of aging, which everyone begins to experience from childhood on, in which the teeth lose the ability to retain minerals important to keep teeth strong. Fluoride not only slows down demineralization, but it can also work to replace lost minerals in teeth enamel. As a bonus, fluoride also fights against bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria creates decay in addition to potential gum infections and disease as well. All in all, fluoride is good for your teeth and its importance is endorsed by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Where Does Fluoride Come From?
This naturally occurring mineral is often present in soil, the drinking water supply, and in certain foods. If drinking water is too low in fluoride, it can be added to the water at a processing plant. You can also get fluoride treatments from your dentist, and it's often added to mouthwashes and toothpaste.
Understanding the Controversy
People may have heard that fluoride is bad for you and doesn't do anything for your teeth. However, none of the negative rumors are borne out by science. The problems people cite regarding fluoride fall into two categories:
- Fluoride causes serious medical disorders. Brain damage, autoimmune problems, and cancer are often pointed out as side effects of consuming fluoride. However, keep in mind that too much of anything can create problems. Check with your dentist to find out what the recommended amounts for you and your family may be and check with your water system to verify the levels. If you are not getting enough, consider asking your dentist to treat your teeth.
- Fluoride ruins the appearance of your teeth. This issue has only made fluoride's reputation worse. While some people may experience white spots or other discolorations after consuming fluoride, these effects are not damaging to your teeth and disappear in time. Speak to your dentist to make sure that any discoloration you see is from fluoride and not a more serious problem.
To learn more about fluoride, speak to a dentistry specialist.