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Dr. Todd Pizzi, DDS, Explains The Importance of Fluoride
By: Expose Yourself PR
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that is present in varying amounts in water, soil, food, and even air. When most people think of fluoride, they associate it with healthy teeth.
Why is fluoride important?
Fluoride is present in tooth enamel. It's a component that keeps the enamel mineralized, or "hard," inhibiting the decay of teeth by acids caused by the breakdown of foods. Not only is fluoride a preventive tool against tooth decay, it can help vulnerable tooth surfaces re-mineralize after acid damage has occurred. As the availability of fluoride has increased around the world, the incidence of tooth decay has diminished.
Fluoride is also important in the formation of tooth enamel. Regular fluoride use is particularly important in children under the age of six whose teeth are still developing.
What are common sources of fluoride?
• Treatments received during regular dental visits – consult your dentist about recommended fluoride applications, particularly in children.
• Toothpastes and mouth rinses – these are available over the counter, although stronger concentrations may require a prescription.
• Drinking water – many communities add fluoride to tap water, but not all.
Is your tap water fluoridated?
The governing body of your municipality should know whether your town's drinking water is fluoridated, so if you are unsure, it's worth a phone call to find out whether you're receiving the health benefits of fluoride through tap water. If not, your dentist may recommend a way to supplement this important mineral. Most dentists also know which communities in the area they service fluoridate their water supplies, so you can also check and see whether your dentist has information about the town you live in.
How much fluoride is too much?
Overuse of fluoride, which can be harmful, is mainly a concern in small children, whose tooth brushing regimen should be monitored to ensure that they don't ingest too much toothpaste. A pea-sized amount should suffice to clean teeth without going overboard. It's also important for children to learn to rinse.
Your dentist is your best resource for additional information about fluoride. Certain people at higher risk for tooth decay may benefit from additional fluoride treatment. If you think you might be in a high-risk group due to a medical condition, chronic dry mouth, gingivitis (gum disease), or a history of frequent cavities, talk to you dentist about your options and to help decide whether additional fluoride would be beneficial for you.
Contact: Alyssa LaManna