What Are The Benefits Of Fluoride?
Fluoride has been researched for over 50 years and water fluoridation has been proven to cut dental decay by 40 to 60%. Fluoride is present in many different natural sources, but can also be artificially added to our drinking water. A level of one part in a million has been shown to be most effective. Fluoride can greatly help dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. Most people get access to fluoride by using a fluoride toothpaste. Most toothpaste now contains fluoride.
Are Fluoride Toothpaste’s Enough?
Our drinking water does not have fluoride added, fluoride toothpaste is effective. However, some people are more prone to dental decay. If so, we may suggest using fluoride supplements, which can help to reduce dental decay. The amount of fluoride in toothpaste is usually enough to lower the level of decay.
Where Can I Find Fluoride?
All water contains fluoride. Your local water supplier or health authority should be able to tell you how much fluoride is in the water in your area. One part of fluoride for every million parts of water (1ppm) is considered enough.
Fluoride also comes in specially formulated gels, drops, tablets or mouthwashes which are recommended for those people who need added protection.
Fluoride is also in salt and tea, and some countries artificially add fluoride to their table salt and milk.
Is It In My Water Supply?
Possibly. However, only around 10% of people have fluoride added to their water – mainly in the Midlands and the North East. The exact amount depends on which area you live in.
Should Children Have Extra Fluoride?
Many areas have enough fluoride in the water to help fight tooth decay. However, some children need to take extra fluoride in the form of supplements.
It is very important that these are only taken on our advice and instruction.
What Are The Side Effects?
‘Enamel fluorosis’ can occur when too much fluoride is taken. This can happen for example when the water supply is already fluoridated and supplements are taken, or when children ‘eat’ toothpaste. Campaigners against fluoridation claim that an overdose of fluoride can sometimes cause ‘brittle bone’ disease and digestive disorders, but these suggestions have not been scientifically proven.
What Is Fluorosis?
Enamel fluorosis is a result of too much fluoride, absorbed while the enamel of the teeth is forming. Severe fluorosis may lead to the enamel being pitted and discoloured. Although this can occasionally make the teeth look unsightly, they will be stronger and less likely to get decay.
Mild fluorosis can sometimes result in a slight mottling effect in the tooth, which is often considered more attractive.
Is Fluoride Safe?
There is no significant danger from fluoride and it is very rare to overdose on fluoride. As mentioned before, the only serious effect occurs when too much fluoride is taken causing fluorosis.
Many reports have been published about the pros and cons of fluoride. After many years the scientific conclusion is that fluoride is of great benefit to dental health and helps to reduce decay, while causing no harmful side effects.