Fluoride is a natural element found in the earth’s crust. This element is usually found in both water and the air, and most people receive fluoride through water, though there are other ways of obtaining fluoride, including tea and seafood. Most people associate fluoride with different kinds of toothpaste. This makes sense, as fluoride is one of the most common preventative measures against tooth decay. Many public water sources have been treated with fluoride, while others achieve this by adding fluoride to milk or table salt, depending on the area.
Dental offices can also perform fluoride treatments to help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. While adding fluoride to public water supplies has been considered a public health victory for decades, some have raised concerns about fluoride and its uses. So let’s examine the pros and cons of fluoride and how it can help maintain your dental health.
Pros of Fluoride
One of the key pros of fluoride is that it can help strengthen tooth enamel. In addition, topical fluoride applications can help support existing dental structures, while the fluoride you consume is worked into the foundation of your teeth throughout your life. By ensuring your body has access to fluoride, you can help prevent cavities and tooth decay and ensure you have a healthy smile throughout your life.
Another benefit of fluoride is that it is an all-natural treatment option. Fluoride is found in water supplies naturally and is one of the main elements that make up the earth’s crust. Dental teams can also apply topical fluoride treatments for those more prone to cavities, and fluoride supplements are available for those who are not getting enough fluoride daily.
Cons of Fluoride
One of the most prevalent concerns about fluoride is concerns about toxicity. However, one thing to note with fluoride is that significant exposure to fluoride early in life can cause fluorosis. As concerning as this condition sounds, it has no health repercussions and only causes minor discoloration of teeth, including brown marks or streaking. The amounts of fluoride in drinking water in the United States have been adjusted to prevent fluorosis. It is worth noting that while fluorosis can affect the appearance of your teeth, it has been found to make you even more resistant to cavities. Remember that fluorosis can only impact people when their teeth grow in and are not a concern for fully grown adult teeth.
There are some extreme cases of acute fluoride toxicity, but these are rare and far between. Still, it is important to note that children can be more at risk for complications if they consume large amounts of fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash, and fluoride toxicity from drinking water alone or even supplements are incredibly low.
When to Talk to Your Dentist about Fluoride
If you are concerned about fluoride, talk to your dentist. They can check to ensure you are getting enough fluoride in your daily life and ensure there are no issues. Remember that fluoride is hard to consume too much of, especially as an adult. Still, it is essential to speak to your dentist before starting fluoride supplements and discuss potential fluoride-free dental care alternatives if you live in an area with a high rate of fluorosis.
If you have any questions or concerns about fluoride treatments, call our office at (305) 271-3333. Here at Artistic Smiles, we’re here to help you understand the ins and outs of dental treatment and help you choose the best dental care possible for you and your family. So if you want to make an appointment or have general questions, give us a call.