The American Dental Association (ADA) calls fluoride “nature’s cavity fighter.” That’s because fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in the earth that science has proven to reduce tooth decay.
But there is a controversial side to fluoridation; Medical News Today points out that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. If humans consume an excessive level of fluoride, side effects can occur.
So which side of this debate is correct? What does science say?
Fluoride in Our Water
Fluoride has been added to our water supply since the 1950s. Medical News Today reports the following organizations have endorsed the addition of fluoride to drinking water:
- World Health Organization
- American Medical Association
- British Dental Association
- American Dental Association
Studies have shown that children living in areas where the water was fluoridated are 60% less likely to experience tooth decay. Your Las Vegas cosmetic dentist, Dr. Hadley and his team are strong proponents of fluoridated water and brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste.
How Does Fluoride Help Your Teeth?
The benefits of drinking fluoridated water start before your first teeth even emerge. The fluoridation seeps through the gum tissue and into newly forming teeth, helping the tooth enamel grow stronger.
As the teeth emerge, fluoride can actually help repair teeth weakened by the beginning stages of decay, according to the ADA. The foods and beverages you consume with fluoride go into your saliva, bathing your teeth in a constant flow of low-grade fluoride, which help keep cavities at bay.
Why Fluoridate the Water?
Fluoride is found in the water already, along with being in the ground itself. For more than 70 years, communities have had additional amounts of fluoride added to the water to safely increase the levels to receive maximum health benefits for your teeth.
Supporters of fluoridation point out it’s the same as eating cereal that has folic acid added or drinking milk with vitamin D. Before water fluoridation, children had three times the cavities and adults struggled to keep their teeth into their old age.
The Center for Disease Control calls fluoridation in the public water supply, one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
Safe Fluoride Consumption
Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, along with drinking tap water, should give you more than enough fluoride to benefit your teeth. But children younger than three should only use a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste on their emerging teeth – about the size of a grain of rice. If your child is between the ages of three and six, a pea sized amount should do it. Adults should always supervise a child’s tooth brushing, first, to make sure they do it properly, but also to be sure they’re spitting out the toothpaste after they’re done.
Adults can supplement fluoride consumption under their dentist’s supervision by using a mouthwash, having a professional application, or taking a supplement.
Your Las Vegas cosmetic dentist, Dr. Hadley and his team, are available to discuss fluoride and any treatments that may help you and teeth live a long, happy life.