Why is fluoride so important to help prevent cavities for both adults and children? Fluoride is one of the best and safest ways to help you maintain good oral hygiene and prevent the development of cavities, the most common disease in adults and children. Fortunately in the United States many individuals have been spared due to fluoride in the tap water, combined with daily tooth brushing and regular checkups with the dentist.
Here are some common questions often asked by concerned parents about the effectiveness of fluoride and its use by children:
Do my children need fluoride?
Fluoride is the best weapon to combat bacteria in our mouths which lead to cavities. The bacteria in our mouth plus the sugars in the food and drinks we consume form acid that leads to tooth decay. Fluoride helps the teeth resist the break down and decay that occurs when teeth are exposed to acid in both children and adults.
Is fluoride in the water safe for my children to drink?
Leading dental and medical organizations around the world agree that water fluoridation is the most effective measure to reduce tooth decay for everyone. The fluoride that is added to our drinking supply must meet strict safety standards established by the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Do we need fluoridated water when we already use toothpaste with fluoride in it?
For most people using toothpaste with fluoride to brush teeth alone is not enough to prevent tooth decay. Drinking fluoridated water provides the additional preventative measure needed to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
Does bottled water contain the necessary amounts of fluoride to help maintain healthy teeth?
Most bottled water DOES NOT contain the fluoride needed to maintain healthy teeth. Check the label or call the company to see if their bottled water contains fluoride before purchasing it. Some bottled water will contain municipal tap water with fluoride but this may not be clearly labeled.
Is it true that the use of fluoride may lead to some serious health care issues?
There is no credible scientific evidence in the United States that shows the use of fluoride will lead to other diseases or health risks. The only health issue that may occur is dental fluorosis, which results in a change of appearance of the teeth, in the form of white markings, usually only detected by your dentist. This is the result of consuming too much fluoride before the age of 8, and can be prevented by adjusting the amount of toothpaste used and proper rinsing of the mouth.
Source: American Dental Association, “Common Questions about Fluoride,” http://www.mouthhealthy.org
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