Fluoride Explained

When it comes to a healthy smile fluoride is an important mineral that can help strengthen and protect the enamel of your teeth. Normally, fluoride is talked more about in regards to children’s dental health. This is because it can play an important role in the development of strong cavity-free teeth.

Below you will find the answers to some common questions regarding fluoride; what it is, why we need it, where it’s found, and safety.

What Is Fluoride?

According to the CDC, Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally and is released from rocks into the soil, water, and air. Almost all water contains some trace amounts of fluoride, but normally not enough to prevent tooth decay.[1]

To get a bit more “sciency”, fluoride is the ionic form of the element fluorine, and it inhibits or reverses the initiation and progression of dental caries (tooth decay) and stimulates new bone formation.[2]

What is it used for?

Fluoride is used to protect the enamel of your teeth. According to the ADA, once fluoride is absorbed into the enamel, it teams up with calcium and phosphate to create a powerful defense system to prevent cavities from forming: fluorapatite. It’s stronger and more resistant to decay. Fluorapatite fights to protect your teeth.[3]

Do I Need Fluoride and How Much?

Fluoride should be consumed regularly. Daily fluoride can come from ADA-approved dental products like toothpaste, certain foods, and drinking water. Fluoride is added to most community water sources. Meaning, if you drink city water you are likely getting fluoride. You can see below the recommended levels of daily fluoride intake.

Is Fluoride Safe?

Fluoride consumption can be controversial as too much fluoride can lead to some negative effects, like:

  • Dental Fluorosis - caused by too much fluoride intake in children when teeth are forming under the gums will lead to white spots on the teeth
  • Skeletal Fluorosis - similar to dental fluorosis, but the bones are affected

However, many studies cite that fluoride found in ADA-approved dental products, food, and water is perfectly safe with very little to no adverse side effects.

Do You Have More Fluoride Questions?

Come prepared for your next visit with your fluoride questions as your dentist or dental hygienist are great resources. Need to book your next visit? Give us a call today: 763.546.1301.


References:

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, March 8). About fluoride. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/faqs/about-fluoride.html.
2. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 1997.
3. The superhero that lives inside your mouth. Mouth Healthy TM. (n.d.). https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/fluoride-superhero.




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