Expert Ohio Dentists Explain Everything About Fluoride Treatments
One of the most widely discussed topics in the world of dentistry is the role of fluoride. You’ve probably heard quite a bit of discussion from both sides of the spectrum of opinions on fluoride, which range from a belief that fluoride is unnecessary and can cause neurological damage, to the belief that fluoride is beneficial for protecting against cavities. Dentists in Ohio promote regular fluoride use through toothpaste, mouthwash, and other oral health products. Studies indicate that topical fluoride use may be beneficial to oral health by helping to prevent cavities.
What Is Fluoride & Where Does It Come From?
Fluoride comes from fluorine, which is simply a mineral that is found throughout the earth in water, rock, and soil, and in very small amounts in foods. In nature, fluoride ions bind with other substances, such as metals. The fluoride that is used in dental products is usually synthesized in a laboratory and bound with calcium or sodium. Lab produced fluoride is considered better to utilize in oral health products because of its consistency, stability, and ease of manufacture.
What Dental Products Contain Fluoride?
Fluoride is added to most dental products, including toothpaste, mouthwash, some floss, cement and fillings, gels, and varnishes. The American Dental Association supports the regular use of fluoridated toothpaste and other dental products because it is believed to significantly reduce the risk of cavities and to help prevent tooth decay. As a result, the regular use of fluoridated oral health products can save time and money in the long run by helping to avoid the need for expensive restorative dental procedures in the future.
How Does Dental Fluoride Work?
Dentists aren’t completely sure exactly how fluoride works in the mouth, but it is generally believed that fluoride helps prevent tooth decay in the following ways:
- Changes the way enamel develops in children, so that it becomes more resistant to the acid and bacterial attacks that cause cavities.
- Stays concentrated in the saliva so that better quality enamel is formed, which also aid in resisting acid and bacterial attacks on the teeth.
- Reduces the ability of bacteria in plaque to produce the acids which cause tooth decay.
- Along with other treatments, fluoride helps remineralize teeth after decay has begun so they can be strengthened and resist further decay.
- Slows down the loss of minerals from the teeth, preventing decay.
Are There Risks Associated With The Use Of Fluoride?
Any substance that is put into your body should be used in moderation. While it’s accepted that fluoride is beneficial in reducing and preventing tooth decay, there are risks to ingesting too much. The most widely recognized side effects of excess fluoride ingestion are dental and skeletal fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is the appearance of white spots on the surface of your teeth. It’s treated as a cosmetic issue and usually affects only younger children. Skeletal fluorosis is caused by buildup of fluoride within the bones and joints. It includes stiffness and pain. If left unchecked, it can eventually alter bone structure and cause ligament calcification. Mostly commonly, fluorosis occurs from long term exposure to high levels of fluoride in drinking water.
Is Fluoride Safe?
Fluoride use is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA), and other medical organizations. It is generally accepted that the benefits of the use of topical fluoride in small amounts in toothpaste, mouthwash, dental treatments, and other oral health products outweighs the risk of fluorosis.
If the use of fluoride treatments concern you, it may be helpful to ask your Ohio dentist for more information or for alternative suggestions to help protect your teeth from decay. Most will recommend using fluoridated dental hygiene products regularly as a foundational way to prevent dental cavities and promote oral health.
Contact Experienced Dentists In Masillon For Tooth Decay Prevention
If you have questions about preventing tooth decay or are seeking treatment for an existing dental issue, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our experienced dentists listen to your concerns and provide world class, personalized treatment for each patient. We are the top rated dentist in Ohio! Call one of the seven Pure Health Dental locations today, or conveniently schedule your appointment online through our website.