For years, there has been an on-going debate about whether fluoride is safe or harmful to the teeth. Some experts recommend stopping its use altogether, while others say that it’s acceptable when used in the right amount. Whether you’re planning to take sides or not, it’s best to understand what fluoride can do to your teeth. Here’s a guide to help you:
What is Fluoride and What Does it Do?
Fluoride is an inorganic anion of fluorine that’s present in soil, water, food, and minerals such as fluorite and fluorapatite. Experts say that everybody needs it because it helps protect the developing permanent teeth of children and prevent dental issues caused by decay in adults. Mahoney Family Dentistry says that fluoride also helps in:
– Protecting the teeth from demineralization – Fluoride keeps the tooth enamel safe from acids caused by the combination of bacteria inside the mouth and sugars found in food.
– Promoting re-mineralization – Fluoride helps strengthen the tooth enamel by accumulating in the demineralized areas of the teeth. This prevents further damage caused by acid.
How Much is Too Much?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that two in five adolescents have excess fluoride on their teeth. This causes streaks or spots, more commonly known as dental fluorosis, which takes place in children aged eight and below.
Nowadays, you don’t only find fluoride in dental clinics or products like toothpaste and mouthwash. Even drinking water contains fluoride. As a result, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that they plan to lower the recommended levels of fluoride in drinking water.
If you’re worried about the condition of your teeth, then you should have an idea if fluoride helps protect your tooth enamel completely and to what extent. For more information, you can refer to a general and cosmetic dentist or to dental sites like the American Dental Association (ADA).