Fluoride has a complicated and somewhat controversial history. However, most dentists agree that you need it. What is fluoride and how much do you really need to protect your smile? Here’s some information to help you understand this important mineral for your teeth.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral found in the Earth, but it can also be made synthetically in a lab. Fluoride is known for preventing tooth decay, especially in children whose teeth are extra vulnerable to damage. It works by helping to rebuild or re-mineralize the enamel of the tooth, which is the outermost layer of protection.
Where Can You Get Fluoride?
Since 1945, fluoride has been added to the American water supply. This is after scientists discovered its benefits towards preventing tooth decay. According to the CDC, as much as three-quarters of the United States get fluoride in their main water supply today.
Fluoride can also be obtained from toothpaste, mouthwash and your dentist. Special fluoride treatments are often a part of your child’s preventive treatment plan. If you aren’t sure that you or your child is getting enough fluoride, ask your dentist. While too much fluoride can be harmful, not enough fluoride can leave you vulnerable to disruptive dental problems. Tooth decay is the leading cause of missed school days in children.
Who Benefits From Fluoride?
Everyone needs fluoride, but there are certain groups of people who can benefit more than others. If you fall into one of the following categories, ask Dr. Gilreath about fluoride treatments or ways to get more daily fluoride:
- Children (up to age 16)
- People with gum disease
- People with a history of multiple cavities
- People with bridges, crowns, or braces
- People who drink primarily bottled water
- People with certain water distillation or treatment systems
- People who have a private water supply
Want to learn more about fluoride? Call Gilreath Family Dentistry. We love helping patients protect their smile through all stages of life!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,