It’s likely that you’ve heard of fluoride as a dental product in some shape or form. But do you know exactly what it is and why it’s helpful to you and your family’s dental health?
Fluoride is a natural substance that remains present in oceans and groundwater. It’s also added to public water sources to help protect teeth by preventing cavities and tooth decay. The trend began in 1945 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when they became the first town to add fluoride to their public water supply. For over a decade, studies had shown the dental benefits with those who drank naturally fluoridated water.
However, it wasn’t until five years later, when studies shown significantly reduced cavity rates in children living in Grand Rapids, that other towns started following suit. Other Michigan towns began fluoridating their water, followed by towns and states throughout the whole country.
Now, some 80-years later, fluoride is shown to save $38 in cavity fees for every $1 spent on water treatment. Stats show that three out of every four people consume fluoridated water. This accounts for fewer decayed teeth among citizens within each drinking water jurisdiction.
To date, it’s considered to be one of the most successful public health initiatives in existence.
Fluoride in Dentistry
If you don’t drink from a public water source or are worried about your fluoride intake, there are additional sources where it can be found. Fluoride is in many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash options; check packaging details or ask your friendly dentist to find out if it’s included.
Fluoride is a great tool for dentistry, as it helps strengthen teeth enamel and prevent decay. In turn, this helps prevent cavities and allow for improved dental health. If you’re worried about your fluoride intake, talk to us at Family Dentistry of Columbus. We’ll walk you through some best practices, and help source your water intake so you have a better idea of fluoride status.
This cavity prevention is true for all ages. It’s recommended for anyone with teeth to help their dental health through fluoride intake.
How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride works by mixing with saliva. Together the two bond with dental plaque, which naturally occurs on your teeth. During this process, the fluoride bonds to weakened spots on the enamel and helps strengthen the area to make it stronger. Without the fluoride, these are areas that continue to wear away and allow cavities to be formed.
In addition to the use of treated toothpaste, fluoridated water is shown to add another 25% in cavity and tooth decay protection. Of course, this should be paired with regular dental checkups to ensure cavities have not formed or progressed.
To learn if your local water source adds fluoride to their main source of water, head to the CDC’s state water source website to find your state and county.
To schedule your next Family Dentistry appointment, or to learn about more health benefits you can provide for your teeth, head to our website.