Health Advice Club: Fluoride - Nature's Tooth Decay Fighter

Caries (cavities) used to be a fact of life. However, during

the past few decades, tooth decay has been reduced dramatically. The key

reason: fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that may occur naturally in all

drinking water sourcesoceans, lakes, rivers and underground water. Extensive

research has shown that optimal levels of fluoride not only reduce caries in

children and adults, but also help repair the early stages of tooth decay.


You may receive fluoride in topical or systemic forms.

Topical fluoride (applied to the surface of the teeth) is delivered through

many toothpastes, mouth-rinses and gels, as well as through foams and varnishes

applied in the dental office. Topical fluorides help strengthen the surface of

tooth enamel.

Systemic fluoride is intended to be ingested. This form

includes fluoridated water and dietary fluoride supplements, such as tablets,

drops or lozenges. Systemic fluoride is integrated into children's teeth as their

tooth structures form.

A reduction in tooth decay is achieved through exposure to

topical fluorides, systemic fluorides or both. Water fluoridation provides both

types of exposure.


Community water fluoridation is an effective and inexpensive

means of achieving the fluoride exposure necessary to help prevent tooth decay.

Studies show that water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing

tooth decay by about 20 to 40 percent.

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Leading health organizations, including the American Dental

Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American

Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, support community water fluoridation on the

basis of the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence, which continues to

support its safety and effectiveness. Water fluoridation helps prevent tooth decay

in both children and adults.

The optimal fluoride level in drinking water is 0.7 to 1.2

parts per million. Naturally occurring fluoride that may be below or above

these levels is present in some water supplies.

If your drinking water comes from a public or community

water supply, contact the local water supplier to determine the fluoride level.

You also can check with your local, county or state health department.

If your drinking water comes from a private well, a

certified laboratory can test samples and provide data. Contact your local or

state health department for information about laboratories that provide this



In 1999, the EPA began requiring water suppliers to provide

annual drinking water quality reports to their customers. Water quality reports

typically may be mailed to the customer, placed in the local newspaper or made

available through the Internet at about July 1 each year. To obtain a copy of

the report, contact your local water supplier. The name of the water system

(often not the name of the city) can be found on your water bill. If the name

of the system is unknown, contact the local health department. The EPA does not

regulate private drinking water wells, but the agency recommends that private

well water be tested every year.

Talk with your dentist about ways you can achieve

optimal fluoride exposure for good oral health.

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Posted in Dentistry Post Date 11/06/2018






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