Significant conflicting information is out there regarding fluoride. Some claim it’s dangerous, some claim conspiracy theories regarding its placement in our public water system. This blog post is to help clarify the mystery of fluoride, what it is and why it is important.
Fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs in our environment. It was first discovered in the early 1900s in the natural water springs of Colorado. After its’ discovery and much research, it was first added to the public drinking water in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1945. A 15-year study followed and yielded wildly positive results for the citizens of Grand Rapids. Even so, it would still take another 30 more years for it to be added to drinking water almost nationwide. The recommended level of fluoride in public drinking water is a mere 0.5 to 1.5 milligrams per liter, but what a difference that small amount can make! Since its introduction, the addition of small levels of fluoride to the public drinking water has been praised as one of the top ten public health achievements of the 20th century by the Center for Disease Control.
The systemic ingestion of appropriate levels of fluoride helps make developing teeth in children strong. In addition, the topical application of appropriate levels of fluoride can help re-mineralize, or harden, weakened areas of teeth from the outside in. The key phrasing in these statements is “appropriate levels.” Like most anything in life, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. An overabundance of fluoride can have negative effects. That is why it is so important to consult with your dental professional about what type and amount are right for you and your family.
Despite the initial success of the public health efforts with fluoride, dental cavities have recently been on the rise. This is likely due to modern changes in our diet, medications, and other lifestyle factors. Due to this, the American Dental Association has assessment tools to help you and your dental professional gauge your need for additional fluoride. Individuals who fall in a moderate to high-risk range for dental cavities often need professional therapeutic applications and/or home use prescription fluoride medications to continue to reduce their risk for decay. It is possible to curb the frequency of cavities. At Schindler Dentistry, we pride ourselves on doing just that. Our highly skilled team can make a customized plan to help your reduce you cavity risk and maximize the benefits of fluoride whenever necessary!