Fluoride is a mineral found in foods and water. Due to its enamel-strengthening properties, this mineral is often referred to as “nature’s cavity fighter” and is often added to the public water supplies.
Here are 7 things you need to know about fluoride and why it is an important part of dental health.
Fluoride is a Cavity-Fighter
This naturally-occurring mineral helps protect and strengthen the teeth of both children and adults.
Before a child’s teeth break through the gums, fluoride helps strengthen the enamel. Your enamel is the outermost, protective layer of your teeth. With stronger enamel, it’s easier to fight tooth decay.
For adults, fluoride acts as a remineralizing agent.
Acids break down the enamel of your teeth, which leads to tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, fluoride helps rebuild (or “remineralize”) your enamel. This strengthens your teeth and can reverse early signs of tooth decay.
The U.S. Public Health System recommends that water supplies should have fluoride levels of 0.7 milligram-per-liter. Many water supplies already reach this optimal level. For those supplies that don’t, fluoridation is a common solution.
Fluoridation is simply adding enough fluoride to a water system in order to provide the level that is effective in fighting cavities.
Check Your Water Supply
Texas participates in a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called “My Water’s Fluoride.” This program enables you to see the concentration of the cavity-fighting mineral in each county’s public water systems.
Fort Bend County
In Fort Bend County, only 36 out of the 203 water systems are fluoridated. Both the city of Sugar Land and Sugar Land River Park are fluoridated to reach the 0.7mg/L recommendation.
Low levels of fluoride are present in raw fruits and vegetables, along with milk and eggs.
If you need to increase your intake of fluoride, consider using a toothpaste or mouthwash with fluoride.
If you are in great need of the mineral, a dentist or doctor may prescribe you a supplement.
Our dental hygienists apply fluoride to your teeth during your semi-annual teeth cleaning.
If a child is exposed to too much fluoride during the first 8 years of their life, they may have fluorosis. Any permanent teeth affected by this cosmetic condition may appear discolored.
In some cases, the dentist can see only the discoloration. However, extreme fluorosis can result in obvious cosmetic issues:
- Yellow to dark brown stains
- Pits in teeth
- Irregular tooth surfaces
The best way to prevent fluorosis in your child is to regulate their intake of fluoride.
If you drink bottled water more often than you drink public supply water, you may be missing out on the benefits of fluoride. Many bottled waters filter out fluoride or don’t have the optimal level to be effective in fighting cavities and rebuilding your enamel.
Check the label on your bottled water or contact the manufacturer to determine whether your bottled water is supplying you with fluoride.
Fluoride is a great way to help strengthen your enamel and protect your teeth from cavities.
For more information or to schedule a dental appointment, contact A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe in Sugar Land, Texas. We are committed to providing you and your family with expert dental care.