Do you want to keep your teeth as healthy as possible in between visits to your dentist in Toledo? Getting enough fluoride is essential. Otherwise your teeth will be at heightened risk for enamel loss and cavities. Fortunately, it’s easy to get the fluoride you need from unfiltered tap water, major toothpaste brands, or dentist-prescribed treatments. There’s nothing more natural, or more beneficial to dental health, than this humble product.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral found in natural settings across the globe. It’s also present in human bones and teeth. It plays a vital role in protecting teeth from cavity-causing bacteria. It does this by strengthening the layer of enamel around each tooth. Fluoride also inhibits the spread of harmful microorganisms in the mouth.
It’s possible to get small amounts of fluoride from eating apples, cooked spinach, kale, brewed tea, and canned fish. However, most Americans get the bulk of their fluoride from the local water supply. Not all municipalities fluoridate their water, however. Contact your local city hall to find out if yours does.
How Important Is Fluoride?
Public health researchers keep track of cavity rates in communities across the US. Their research shows that the number of cavities among children age 12 has plummeted by 68% since adding fluoride to public drinking water supplies became commonplace. This fact, along with studies performed by medical and dental professionals, offers conclusive proof that fluoride is vital for enjoying healthy teeth and gums.
Does Fluoride Have Any Harmful Effects?
Like most helpful substances, fluoride can have negative effects if over-ingested. One of the most common problems associated with excessive fluoride intake is cosmetic stains in the form of whitish spots on the teeth.
The risk of an accidental fluoride overdose is remote, however. Far more likely is the possibility of not getting enough fluoride. If that happens, then the consequences can include cavities, tooth loss, and greater risk of gum disease.
What about Prescription Fluoride Supplements?
Dentists may use concentrated fluoride to help their patients develop greater resistance to cavities. Therapy may take the form of tablets, mouth rinses, or direct applications to specific teeth.
It’s also possible to buy fluoride in nutritional supplement form, either online or at many local pharmacies. Most of us, though, can get all the fluoride we need simply by using a toothpaste brand accepted by the ADA, drinking unfiltered tap water, and using a fluoridated mouthwash or dental rinse.
What Happens If I Filter Fluoride from My Drinking Water?
Removing fluoride from your drinking water is not a good idea. If you do decide to use a fluoride filter for taste reasons, then you should find other ways to get the fluoride you need. Your dentist can recommend helpful products.
The story of fluoride is one of the great successes of modern dental medicine. Don’t let well-intentioned misinformation keep you from enjoying the benefits of this safe, gentle, effective natural mineral. Follow the advice of your Toledo dentist and you’ll enjoy healthier teeth and gums for a lifetime.
About the Author
Dr. Robert Weisenburger is a second-generation dentist with a DDS degree from the Ohio State University. An outstanding general dentist, he’s also regarded as an expert in restorative dentistry techniques such as implants. You can reach his office online or by calling (419) 539-2168.