Fluoride 101 & Dental Care

Fluoride Few dental health topics have stirred up as much controversy over the years as the addition of fluoride to public supplies of drinking water. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral present in all water sources, including the ocean. Since fluoride is a key weapon in your dentist’s arsenal to fight tooth decay and keep your mouth healthy, let’s look at what’s been discovered about fluoride through scientific research, and how it impacts your dental care.

The facts about fluoride

  • Fluoride is considered by dentists to be highly effective in the prevention and treatment of tooth decay.
  • Adding fluoride to public drinking water supplies is supported by numerous health authorities, including the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization.
  • Earlier this year, the American Dental Association changed its recommendations about oral care for children under 6 to encourage the use of small amounts of fluoride toothpaste as soon as a child gets their first primary tooth.

On the other hand, there are limits to the usefulness of fluoride, as it can be toxic if the dose one receives is too high. When your dentist talks to you about fluoride and tooth decay, he or she will want to know all the sources of fluoride you receive, so that appropriate recommendations about maintaining or changing your oral health regimen can be made.

There are two main ways to receive fluoride: through topical treatments (such as toothpastes, fluoride mouthrinses or through varnishes or gels provided by your dentist) or by systemic means, such as drinking fluoridated water or taking special fluoride supplements.

“No medical treatment is without risk, and all treatments have a safe dosage,” says Dr. Carol Ford, who practices cosmetic dentistry in Phoenix. “Your dentist can advise you on the best mix of fluoride sources to prevent tooth decay, while keeping you safe.”

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