How Fluoride Helps Maintain Healthy Teeth

How Fluoride Helps Maintain Healthy Teeth

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in most public water supplies to help strengthen teeth against plaque and tooth decay.  Fluoride is also contained in toothpaste which is good for maintaining proper oral hygiene.

There is evidence that adding fluoride to the water supply has helped lower tooth decay in places where fluoridation is introduced into the water system. Currently, there are no known adverse effects associated with the level used, but it still important to not go above recommended limits.

Toothpaste with Fluoride

Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride to help prevent plaque build-up, which leads to tooth decay.  Parents with young children under 18 months old should not use toothpaste when brushing teeth, only water.  After 18 months, it is recommended to put a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with low fluoride on your child’s toothbrush. Assisting them with brushing their teeth to help establish good oral habits is also recommended. After age six, a child may use a pea-sized amount of standard toothpaste with fluoride when brushing their teeth unless your dentist recommends a different policy. Children should be encouraged not to swallow the toothpaste since this sometimes leads to fluorosis or teeth stains.

Drinking-Water Containing Fluoride

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association have stated that adding fluoride to public water is a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay.  The CDC has proclaimed that it is one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. 

The latest data from 2014 shows that 74.4 percent of the U.S. population or 211.4 million people have access to fluoridated public water supplies.  Studies show that fluoride in community water systems prevents at least 25 percent of tooth decay in both children and adult populations.

Fluoride Treatments

If you are in a community without a fluoridated water supply, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatments that have higher levels of fluoride than found in standard toothpaste.  Your dentist may also recommend you brush your teeth more frequently to compensate for the lack of fluoridated drinking water. 

For more information about fluoride and how to protect your teeth against tooth decay, make an appointment with our knowledgeable dental office. Dr. Melchers and his experienced staff are here to address all your oral health care issues. Contact us today at info@oldmtpleasantdentistry.com to see how we can best meet your dental care needs.