For decades, fluoride has been held in high regard by the dental community as an important mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, which thereby helps to prevent decay of tooth structures.
Water fluoridation is endorsed by nearly every major health and safety-related organization in the world. Communities make it a common practice to "fluoridate" their drinking supplies in order for the general population to benefit from this inexpensive and effective preventative treatment. According to the American Dental Association, more than 144 million U.S. residents in more than 10,000 communities drink fluoridated water, most from public water supplies with sodium fluoride added artificially.
Bottled water, home water treatment systems, and fluoride exposure
Can the consistent use of bottled water result in individuals missing the benefits of optimally fluoridated water? Can home water treatment systems (e.g., water filters) affect optimally fluoridated water supplies? The answer is yes to both. Read how you can avoid some of the pitfalls that may be preventing you from getting the maximum value of fluoride, in this article from the American Dental Association.
ADA statement on FDA toothpaste warning labels
The American Dental Association`s Council on Scientific Affairs believes that one part of the warning now required on fluoride toothpastes by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could unnecessarily frighten parents and children, and that the label greatly overstates any demonstrated or potential danger posed by fluoride toothpastes. The label language, "If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately," is now required on all fluoride toothpastes. But the ADA, in a letter sent to the FDA last year, pointed out that a child could not absorb enough fluoride from toothpaste to cause a serious problem and that the excellent safety record on fluoride toothpaste argues against any unnecessary regulation.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child may face a condition called enamel fluorosis if he or she receives too much fluoride during the years of tooth development. Too much fluoride can result in defects in tooth enamel.
CDC web site provides information on community water fluoridation
People seeking information on whether their water system is fluoridated can now find out by visiting a new Web site at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new feature, "My Water`s Fluoride," allows consumers in participating states to check out basic information about their water system, including the number of people served by the system and the target fluoridation level. Optimal levels recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC for drinking water range from 0.7 parts per million (ppm) for warmer climates, to 1.2 ppm for cooler climates accounting for the tendency to drink more water in warmer climates. States that are currently participating include Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
How does fluoride help my teeth?
When you are born and your teeth have not yet emerged, fluoride from water, food, and supplements, strengthens your tooth enamel. This, in turn, makes it easier for your teeth to fight off decay. This is a systemic benefit of fluoride.
Once your teeth have emerged, fluoride helps remineralize tooth enamel that has weakened and reverses the very early stages of decay. Dental products that contain fluoride - like toothpaste or mouthwash - topically place fluoride directly on your teeth. Foods and drinks containing fluoride also provide topical benefits to your teeth when consumed. With drinks, every sip covers your teeth with fluoride. During the chewing process of foods, fluoride mixes with your saliva and constantly coats your teeth.
Why should I get a professional fluoride treatment?
A professional fluoride treatment is a great way to help combat cavities. Some people are more susceptible to cavities and could really benefit from professional fluoride treatments. Cavities may be more common due to:
Particular composition of teeth
Over consumption of alcohol
Bad oral hygiene
Not going to the dentist regularly
High levels of cavity-causing bacteria
Head and neck radiation therapy
Tooth roots exposed
Defects of tooth enamel
In the office, a foam, gel, solution, or varnish is applied directly to your teeth. This coat strengthens the teeth and protects them from further decay.
How do I take care of my teeth after a professional fluoride treatment?
Even though a professional fluoride treatment helps protect your teeth from decay, you should continue to brush and floss as normal. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing. Using products that have the ADA Seal are favored since they meet the ADA’s effectiveness and safety criteria.
Regular dental visits are also very important. Plaque needs to be professionally removed in a dental office to help stop tooth decay. Though the ADA suggests visiting the dentist twice a year, this may vary depending on your situation.
Eating a balanced diet and avoiding excessive amounts of sugary foods benefits your overall well-being, and, in turn, helps support good oral health. Eating fluoride rich foods and drinks can work systemically hand in hand with topical professional fluoride treatments to keep cavities at bay.
Dr. Zelikow can let you know if professional fluoride treatments are a good idea for you. The office is easy to get to from anywhere in Chicago, Lincolnwood, Elmwood Park, Evanston, and the surrounding areas.
Let Dr. Zelikow help you do everything you can to stop tooth decay and keep your smile looking great!
In need of immediate care?
Dr. Zelikow provides emergency phone consultation services after working hours and on weekends. Call (773) 348-3309