Fluoride treatment is a normal part of routine dental cleanings. It generally gets applied at the end of a cleaning and helps to protect the enamel coating on your teeth, and works to stop cavities from developing. In many parts of the country, fluoride has been added to municipal water supplies to produce oral health benefits. Recently, fluoride has come under fire from critics who claim it is dangerous and does more harm than good.
Fluoride is an essential part of any good dental routine. Examining recent research can help us determine what is myth and what is fact pertaining to fluoride, and its use in dental practices is vital to making informed decisions about your dental health.
Fluoride Is a Naturally Occurring Mineral
Fluoride normally occurs at very low levels in water. As a result, many cities and states have added fluoride to the water supply to provide oral health benefits to their populations.
Fluoridating Water Promotes Healthy Teeth and Prevents Cavities
Fluoridated water protects and strengthens teeth and is just one of many examples of how fortifying natural resources or products with vitamins and minerals can benefit humans. Other examples include cereal fortified with vitamins or Vitamin D added to milk products. Results from multiple cities and states show that fluoridating their water supplies resulted in:
- Increased oral health
- Fewer cavities
- Lower health expenditures
Drinking Fluoridated Water from Childhood Leads to Stronger Teeth
Fluoride in water is especially helpful for babies and young children as they are first developing teeth. Drinking fluoridated water as a child strengthens teeth and results in less tooth decay later in life.
Fluoride Treatments Used in Dental Cleanings Are Safe
The oral fluoride treatment used during dental cleanings is usually a gel, paste, or foam that is applied topically to the teeth. While the fluoride used in this treatment is more potent than what is in the water supply, it is still perfectly safe for humans.
Water Fluoridation Commonly Leads to Fluorosis, a Dangerous Condition
It is true that extremely high fluoride content in water can lead to fluorosis, which is a condition that creates white specks on teeth. However, the condition is pain-free, does not damage teeth, and poses no long-term health effects. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently set a 0.7 parts-per-million standard for fluoride presence in water. This level is far below the level of fluoride necessary to cause fluorosis in all but the rarest circumstances.
Fluoridation has not Been Adequately Studied
In fact, the exact opposite of this is true. Leading health researchers from around the world and over 70 years of experience with fluoridated water in the United States and Europe prove fluoride poses no health threat to humans while drastically improving oral health. The only concern related to fluoride in water is in areas where the National Research Council has identified naturally-occurring fluoride levels in well water or aquifers as unusually high. These naturally occurring pockets are well above the 0.7 parts-per-million standard set by the CDC for municipal water supplies.
Fluoride Treatment Services at Greenwood Dental
Greenwood Dental offers fluoride treatment services as part of any general check-up. During a routine dental cleaning, fluoride is applied as a gel or varnish to your teeth to protect enamel and prevent cavities. Fluoride treatment can be especially helpful if you have one of the following:
- Frequent cavities
- Dry mouth
- Gum disease
- Dental crowns or bridges
Keeping your teeth healthy involves regular visits to your dentist. Contact us at 855.528.3961, or contact us online today to learn more about our fluoride treatment services and how they can benefit your dental health.